As an editor and journalists, we receive news tips from all kinds of places and people.

We have a responsibility to check out those tips to determine if there is truth in the information or hearsay

It can become more complicated to check out the facts of delicate or dangerous information when the unidentified informant wishes to remain anonymous.

Tracking a story to find its relevance is delayed when sources don’t leave a way for us to confirm their concern or news tip. That is why readers will rarely see a single sourced story. Information printed is checked and double checked.

We see it as our duty to find the truth, but we need to know if the information being imparted is reliable and verifiable. In the editor’s role at The Sunnyside Sun we need to know our source’s name to protect our own creditability.

It is our professional obligation when necessary, to keep our anonymous sources safe. We understand there are times when a person may be fearful of retaliation such as the loss of their job.

Of course, we prefer people to be forthright and just tell us what they know and why they think an incident may be a problem.

However, people who contact and leave us no way to verify the newstip, we can’t use just them as a source without checking to see if they are reliable.

So-called whistleblowers have to tell someone who they are. If their information shows to be correct, then we as editors and journalists can decide how to proceed with a story.

We don’t report on blind faith from a so-called source without a name or contact information.

Anonymous tips sometimes are nothing but gossip and rumor, with no basis in fact. Which is why it so important to know who we are dealing with.

We have a duty to screen both the source and information presented. We have to know the source. If we don’t have those details, the information submitted can’t be utilized unless it’s corroborated.

We impart factual articles and information, ones we can back up with sources we can credibly protect.

Please allow us that opportunity to pursue the truth. Otherwise anonymous is just a word we can’t use.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board. PShelby@sunnysidesun.com

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