Earlier this week I picked up the Monday edition of the Miami Hurricane to see if my women’s volleyball article made it into the sports section, but something else caught my eye entirely. To my surprise and disappointment I discovered that this paper is now allowing its writers to use anonymous sourcing in completely irresponsible and unnecessary ways.
I’m referring to the article about Pi Kappa Alpha’s pending investigation, and one particularly inflammatory and provocative quote that should never have made it to print.
As the first half of the quote read in the piece: “I’ve heard a lot of people blacked out from the punch at one of their parties,” said a junior who wished to remain anonymous.
Up to this point the quote is okay…a little provocative, but acceptable. What comes next however is pure gossip, plain and simple. How do we know its pure gossip? One word: Probably. “Pike probably put Xanex in the drinks they were serving.
Everyone knows Xanax will make you black out.”
There is so much wrong with the use of this quote that it’s hard to know where to begin.
The purpose of using anonymous sourcing is to get a person with direct knowledge of a situation to divulge information that they otherwise wouldn’t for one reason or another. And most importantly, this information should be profound and groundbreaking. Not only did this source have no direct knowledge of the situation, it doesn’t even sound like he/she was there.
The use of words such as ‘I’ve heard’ and ‘probably’ shows that this information was nothing more than pure, unsubstantiated hearsay and had no place in the article.
What if an anonymous source in another story said the following? “I’ve heard a lot of people threw up after eating at the Rat last week…the staff probably intentionally undercooked the food. Everyone knows intentionally undercooking food makes you
That sounds a little ridiculous, but when it comes down to it there is no difference between the two quotes. None.
Report the facts: Pike is under investigation, and it’s not the first time. There is enough of a story here that making the Miami Hurricane look like the newest version of Juicy Campus was completely unnecessary.
I’m not writing this article to defend Pike. I don’t know anyone in Pike, and I know nothing about the fraternity’s pending investigation. All I know is that I’ve written for this paper since my freshman year and to see it let unfounded, baseless gossip
fill its pages is embarrassing.