Over the weekend Politico‘s Mike Allen, who will be among the stars at POLITICO Summer School for interns around town, ran what looks to be an early seminar. In this one he discusses how to handle unnamed sources.
“PLAYBOOK MEMO TO YOUNG JOURNOS – This episode reminds us that: 1) Including other points of view strengthens, not weakens, your article. Readers are sophisticated, and get that the world isn’t black and white. They’re more likely to trust and article that reflects life’s complexity. Excellent pieces are undermined, or lose big prizes, over this exact issue. 2) Sometimes there are creative ways to obtain the same material with fewer restrictions. 3) Referring to a single source in multiple ways doesn’t serve your reader. Gotta pick a clear, accurate description for each unnamed source and stick with it. So on second reference, it’s ‘the official,’ not ‘an official,’ which makes it sound like someone different.”
Colleague Patrick Gavin recently provided clues on Twitter as to what POLITICO summer school will entail: “Best part of POLITICO Summer School: Cabins fully equipped with WiFi. Campfires send smoke signals about 2012 possibilities. 3am Bugle Call.”
We can hardly wait.