Guidance On How To Discuss Other News Outlets’ Reports

When credible news organizations are reporting things that we have not confirmed or knocked down and we decide it’s important to let our audience know about those reports, our language has to be precise.

We must:

- Clearly attribute the news to those other outlets (or “multiple” news outlets if that’s the case).

- Summarize their sourcing. For example: “intelligence officials with first-hand knowledge.”

- State that NPR has not independently confirmed the reports.

- Make sure in later references that we DO NOT make it sound as if things have been confirmed. A line such as “investigators found the stolen thumb drive in Coleman’s Manhattan pied-Ă -terre,” sounds like a fact without the additional phrase “according to The Daily Planet’s sources.” In other words, attribute, attribute and attribute again.

As for whether and when we report about other news organizations’ significant scoops, those discussions have to involve, at the least, the DME on duty.

(“Memmos;” Sept. 19, 2017)

September 19, 2017

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