Journalist and Attibution

Attribution is essential for journalist because it makes our stories and reports credible. If the only information that was relayed to the public was the information that the journalist knew then people would not trust the journalist. Using multiple sources and attribution allows for the journalist to create trust with the reader or viewers. It gives the journalist confirmation about their story or it adds an extra point of view, which are both important in relating information to the public. As discussed in the article, “How Reporters Use Attribution Correctly”, there are multiple ways to attribute a source in a story. This includes: Source- Paraphrase, Source- Direct Quote, and Source- Paraphrase and Quote. The most important style of attribution for a journalist to use in Source- Paraphrase and Quote. Source- Paraphrase and Quote involves the sources full name, his title or a brief description of why the source is relevant and important to the story, and it involves the full and accurate quote given by the source. It is most important because it establishes exactly who the source is, the reason why the reader or viewer should care about their opinion or what facts they may state, it gives both you and the source credibility, and it also respects the source by using the full quote while giving the reader or viewer the full amount of information.

An example where Source- Paraphrase and Quote was used is in this quote written in a NY Times article about a couple who eloped in Afghanistan. Following is the full section that was attributed: “‘Salam Khan, 22, a witness from Fatiha’s village, Sar-i-Pul, said he saw what had happened to the couple after the police surrendered them. “Some of Fatiha’s relatives, her cousins, were beating her with their fists and saying, ‘Why did you do this?’ Then her older brother got angry and shot her with a hunting rifle and her younger brother shot her with an AK-47. I don’t know how many bullets they fired,’”

In this example the journalist identified the full source, including age, then identified the importance of the source and the full quote. In context of the whole story the quote provided extra eye witness and sources, adding to the credibility of the story and the journalist.

Attribution is especially important for journalist because we are the first writers of history. We are the first people to report on current events happening and as journalist we do it in a short time frame in order to ensure that the public is aware. Because of these factors, many people are skeptical of the validity of certain stories and journalist. Articles where the name is stated, but there is no description to explain why the source is important causes the reader to distrust the statement or quote that will follow because they will not know why that person is important to listen to. Articles where there are adequate source descriptions but not a clear quotation cause the reader to distrust the journalist because they cannot fully trust that the journalist did not alter the quote in order to fit their own interest in the article.

It is essential to use attribution in all stories used. It will not only build your credibility as a journalist but it will attract more readers and viewers to their work. With attribution you build trust, and as people who work for the good of the people and the public, trust is something we want to obtain.


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