Adding credibility by using verifiable evidence of the facts used in reporting can give readers greater confidence in the articles they read. Signals of clear and traceable identification of source material in reporting bolsters evidence of genuine research, claims made, or events cited, and allows readers to follow stories further.
Following the suggestions given by The Trust Project, Blasting News will provide, when appropriate, three different classes of insight information:
- Internal Original Materials: Provide titles and links to internal documents gathered by the newsroom, such as transcripts of interviews, documents collected under transparency laws or leaked, and datasets that were collected and analyzed.
- External Original Materials: For public documents from governmental institutions, agencies, companies and private entities, and to the public bio pages of key persons interviewed, e.g. on Wikipedia or their own home pages provide titles and links to external materials and sources used. Scientific or other journal articles also fall under this category.
- Secondary News Sources: For secondary sources such as ethnic media, local media, or other news reports provide titles that were the basis for the piece. Trade journal articles also fall under this category.
Blasters and Reviewers must pay attention to the following key areas.
Citations and annotations are expected to be included in a story when:
- Citations are central to substantial and investigative work.
- Citations are included in other significant stories.
- Assess the information you want to provide in order to protect your sources and to take into account local legislation on defamation and copyright.
What sources should be cited:
- Firstly any verifiable claims that are based on reported events or studies.
- Any third-party published material to which the piece refers in a substantial way.
- Anything being used to justify or elaborate on a statement in the story.
- In order to distinguish between the opinions of the writers and the specialist knowledge of others.
- Citations include links to the original material.
- Secondary sources, such as other news stories, are used case-by-case where they add value and give credit to work derived from a local or other source.
- Keep readers on the page as much as possible. Citations are contained largely within the document, in order not to overly interrupt the flow of the reader, while still giving stepping-off points to deeper content.
- When feasible, publish the data that you have collected and analyzed.
- Link to a bio (or LinkedIn page) of the person interviewed when quoting an interview.
- Provide credentials and context of an interview source next to the quote.
- The most common obstacles we find to providing a link to source information are (1) when the source material is not online and is protected by copyright, or (2) when the source material may not be easily understood by a general reader. LinkedIn is a good option for bios of interview subjects.