in journalism, Uncategorized

Gawker’s Sources Have Problems Staying Anonymous

Joe Coscarelli has a great summary of the problems that Gawker sources have in staying anonymous after they give the blogging empire a massive scoop:

[I]t’s not that the Gawker Media reporters hoped to have their sources outed. It happens to every news organization. But the way Gawker’s narrative sensibilities work, the account of the unnamed is crucial to the storytelling, thus littering the features (which also often include photographic proof with faces barely edited out) with clues. Then the entire internet latches on to the anonymity and won’t stop until they have their own piece of the pie. In some cases, like the Christine O’Donnell leak, it’s because the anonymous source comes off like an ass, and the hive mind is out for revenge. In others, like for Callahan, it’s merely a thirst to have the knowledge which has been withheld — a good detective-like hunt for any hungry journalists. In an age when almost everyone has something of an online trail, it’s not even very difficult! But Gawker tends to make it even easier.

I’m fascinated by this stuff every time it happens. What are the consequences for people like Dustin Dominiak, who has to live with this Google search any time he wants to land a date from now until forever? I’d like to know…Maybe a future episode of The Chencast? Either way, the price of that can’t be worth the $5,000 he was paid for the story.