Anonymous sources: good or bad? Find out Thursday

Anonymous sources: A necessary evil to get some stories told? A crutch used by lazy reporters? A means for some sources to take potshots or float trial balloons without putting their reputations on the line? Opinions vary, it seems that every journalist has one on the ethics and fairness of citing unnamed sources in news reports.

The St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will explore the historic use of anonymous sources and the policies on their use at local media outlets at its next luncheon meeting.

The lunch will feature a panel discussion with:

Matt Carlson, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at St. Louis University, whose book, “On the Condition of Anonymity,” is just out. (Here’s a quick description from Amazon: “Matt Carlson confronts the promise and perils of unnamed sources in this exhaustive analysis of controversial episodes in American journalism during the George W. Bush administration, from prewar reporting mistakes at the New York Times and Washington Post to the Valerie Plame leak case and Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS News.”)

Adam Goodman, deputy managing editor/metro and business news at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Gary Dotson, city editor at the Belleville News-Democrat.

The lunch is at noon this coming Thursday, May 12, at Lucas Park Grille, 1234 Washington Avenue. The cost, $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers, includes soft drink and tip.

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