Anonymous Sources in News Stories: Justifying Exceptions and Limiting Abuses

Boeyink, David E. 1990. Anonymous Sources in News Stories: Justifying Exceptions and Limiting Abuses. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 5(4): 233–46.

Abstract: As discussion intensifies, and critics exploit what they see as a serious press abuse of anonymous sources, this article explores current practices and policies, as well as examines justification for and danger of anonymous source usage. Seven guidelines are listed and discussed which may help editors and reporters decide whether to use the anonymous source: editor authorization, just cause, last resort, fullest possible identification, proportionality, just intentions, and second source verification.


Photovoice ethics: Perspectives from Flint photovoice

Wang, C. C., & Redwood-Jones, Y. A. (2001). Photovoice ethics: Perspectives from Flint photovoice. Health education & behavior, 28(5), 560-572.

Abstract: Photovoice is a participatory health promotion strategy in which people use cameras to document their health and work realities. As participants engage in a group process of critical reflection, they may advocate for change in their communities by using the power of their images and stories to communicate with policy makers. In public health initiatives from China to California, community people have used photovoice to carry out participatory needs assessment, conduct participatory evaluation, and reach policy makers to improve community health. This article begins to address ethical issues raised by the use of photovoice: the potential for invasion of privacy and how that may be prevented; issues in recruitment, representation, participation, and advocacy; and specific methodological techniques that should be used to minimize participants’ risks and to maximize benefits. The authors describe lessons learned from the large-scale Flint Photovoice involving youth, adults, and policy makers.

Journalist Security Guide

Committee to Protect Journalists. 2012. Journalist Security Guide. 

This guide is aimed for journalists who are covering news in a dangerous and changing world. It covers precautions and things that journalists need to do to take care of themselves and be effective in their work as they cover different kinds of news. The guide includes safety precautions, suggestions and recommendation for different kinds of journalists working in different regions in the world and reporting on different news items. It begins with a section covering basic preparedness for journalists either working locally or internationally. The next section covers how to assess and respond to risk such as threats, sexual violence or captive situations. For journalists working with technology, there is a section on how to be safe online, how to defend their data, and protect their communication online. For those reporting in war zones, this guide includes security training for them, the protective gear they need and how to use satellite technology in hostile environments. For those doing investigative reporting such as in organized crime, they need to know how to approach hostile subjects, access information and know warning signs that could mean trouble from the subjects. Security is also emphasized in terms of personal and family security. Finally the guide has a section that deals with stress and how journalists can take care of themselves.

Digital Security First Aid Kit for Human Rights Defenders

Association for Progressive Communications. 2014. Digital Security First Aid Kit for Human Rights Defenders, available at

Digital security First Aid Kit: a kit devised  for those using the  internet to campaign  for social  justice  in the community.
The  internet  being  the  transformative  public  space  that  it is  can  be  used  to  facilitate social  justice  and  participatory  political  processes  by  the  public.  This  space  is  also  political,  gendered, complicated, biased, increasingly surveyed, policed, and a  space most women human rights defenders and sexual  rights  activists  face  violence.  This  is  why  it  is important, the  authors  argue, to  have  strategies  and tools  that  enable  people  to  be  safe  and  to  use  digital  tools  and  spaces  creatively  and  confidently.  The  kit includes  thirteen  sections  that  people  can  use  to  get  resources  and  information  when  faced  with  different challenges in the digital space in the course of their activism. These sections address such issues as how to handle  sensitive  data;  hijacked  emails  and  accounts;  hacked  website  or  blog;  online  abuse;  sending encrypted  emails;  erasing  digital  footprints;  securing  mobile  device  communication;  and  access  to  a blocked  website  anonymously.  The  kit  is  an  important tool  in  an  increasingly  digitalized  society  and  it  is written  for  computer  non-experts  which  makes  it  accessible to  anybody  including  activists,  students  and researchers.