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Friends: Good for MySpace, bad for sourcing / Jossip

Friends: Good for MySpace, bad for sourcing
— Mon, Mar 27, 2006 —

Fresh off his stint as the editor of Mediabistro’s Fishbowl, Greg Lindsay is back at the site, explaining why reporters using their friends as sources is a big no-no.

Inspired by Village Voice reporter Nick Sylvester‘s recent reporting scandal, Lindsay concludes that only does quoting friends set journalists up for holes in their stories, but it is also some kind of psychological backwards way for journalists to insert their own opinion into their stories.

“It’s endemic of the fact that we tend to interview people who look like us and talk like us,” says McBride. “And if the cynic finds himself talking to the same people over and over for that reason, then there’s something wrong with their sourcing.”

Lindsay uses plenty of quotes and anecdotes from various to back up his story, making sure to point out that one of them, Poynter‘s Kelly McBride, is not his friend.

Apparently, all this friend on friend reporting “betrays an ultimately cynical view of the world.” And to betray the cynic is to betray oneself. Hmm, how New York journo-psyche 101.

So, while we agree that using your friends as sources for the most part is a huge cop-out, we also think that maybe (just maybe) Lindsay’s been hangin’ out in the fishbowl a little too long.

Your Friends and Sources [Greg Lindsay, Mediabisto]

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