FAQs: sources

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If a story is reported by a traditional news outlet, will you report them as your source, or not report the story without a named original source?

We should clearly report on who is saying what, in all cases. We’re not planning to spend much time reporting on what other media say, but it can be very valuable for community members to compare and contextualise from different sources.

Will the site not use sources that demand confidentiality, or publish articles with protected sources? Or will there just be a disclaimer that this article is based on a verified, but confidential source?

The latter. We think anonymity is currently overused. There are rare cases where a whistleblower can’t be named, and in those cases extra processes need to be in place to verify information. We’re big fans of parallel construction: an anonymous source can give a tip, but we need to verify it independently.

Will you protect sources who need it?

Yes, of course. To the maximum extent possible, we want to show evidence but acknowledge that in rare cases this can be tricky – whistleblowers being the main one.

Where is WikiTribune’s data based? This has security implications for contributors.

We’ll develop safe procedures for people who need it, but most of what we’ll be doing will be safe if the data is handled carefully. Reporting on what a local congressperson said at a rally doesn’t really require cloak-and-dagger procedures.

What happens if something is verifiable, but can’t be linked online?

That should be fine – we’ll just need some procedures to ensure it’s accurate.

Can people submit tips for investigative pieces?

Yes please!

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