The practice of attributing the source of information in an article to an unnamed or unidentified source. This is a questionable practice often discouraged by editors, who will need extra verification that the information is accurate. Here are some of the questions the writer and the publisher need to be asking: (1) Is it logical the source would have access to this information? (2) Does the source have any particular reason for revealing this information. (3) Does the source have any reason to give us false information? (4) Is the source known to the writer or the publisher? (5) Is there any information already available that would support the source's claims?
We hear a lot these days about whistle blowers being disgruntled employees. Beware of those. Some editors will insist the reporter verify the information in some other way before they run it. Most editors will also refuse to run what is simply a disparaging comment about another person. For more on why journalists need anonymous sources, go to: http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/columns/imperialcity/12025.