WaPo Writer Outs Anonymous Source


In an absolute rarity, a source who insisted on anonymity phoned a WaPo reporter and asked him to identify her by name after the story had published. This is WaPo‘s story lab today in which Ian Shapira lets us watch journalism flip on its head.

Shapira felt “nervous” when he received the call from the female source so shortly after his story printed. He thought as many journalists do: What had he done wrong?

It wasn’t that at all. The source admitted she had upset her boyfriend and wanted her name back in on the record.

An excerpt:
In my ten years at The Post, this marked the first time an anonymous source called back after a story’s publication to request that we go back into the original story and insert his or her name. But I couldn’t go back and do that — it would alter the original article, changing the fact that the story’s main character has a girlfriend who had not felt comfortable being named in a Post article about him.

There’s a healing ending here. Read the full story here.