While anthropology and journalism use similar methods and, many times, produce a similar kind of knowledge, the two professions have significantly different views of their sources. Like all social sciences, anthropology is subject to federal regulation for research with human subjects. This regulation requires the assessment of costs and benefits, the informed consent of informants, and, in general, researchers’ protective and responsible attitude towards them. Citing the First Amendment and arguing that news is non-generalizable knowledge, journalism exempts itself from this regulation. This paper shows that both arguments for exemption are unsustainable and analyzes three other possible incompatibilities between journalism and federal regulation: the watchdog role of the press, the apparent conflict between confidentiality and credibility, and journalists’ reluctance to take responsibility for the consequences of what they publish. It concludes that news professionals’ understanding of truth in terms of facticity and of their job as the transmission of such truths impairs their sense of ethical responsibility

Additional Metadata
Keywords anthropology, ethics, human subjects, informed consent, journalism, sources
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616700600980702, hdl.handle.net/1765/115059
Journal Journalism Studies
Citation
Awad Cherit, I. (2006). Journalists and their sources: Lessons from anthropology. Journalism Studies, 7, 822–939. doi:10.1080/14616700600980702