Date

2017

Major

Journalism (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Kowalewski

Abstract

In the media, the use of anonymous sources has become more prevalent throughout the years. The practice has become more widely accepted by media outlets with many believing anonymous sources allow journalists to have access to more information than they would have if they used non-anonymous sources. The practice of granting anonymity to sources also has spread to college media news outlets, with some news publications granting sources anonymity, especially when student’s lives may be at risk and confidentiality is required to maintain an individual’s safety. Academic research has shown that people who see anonymous sources in mainstream media perceive the news organization as less believable than news stories that do not use anonymous sources. There has not been any research conducted on the way college students who read college newspapers perceive anonymity. According to interviews conducted, individuals in the college media sphere view the use of anonymous sources in college media outlets as necessary. The purpose of this research is to determine then whether the use of anonymous sources in news stories affects the believability of college media. In an experiment, college students were tested to see whether they believed news stories that used anonymous sources as compared to news stories that did not use anonymous sources. The findings indicated that college students do not perceive a difference in credibility based on whether the source was anonymous or named.

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