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This week, we published a long-form investigative piece looking into the role of safe-staffing ratios in elder-care facilities in our area – here’s a little more information on how and why we chose to publish it the way we did.
We use information from anonymous sources to tell important stories that otherwise would go unreported. This is not a solo decision – the editors and reporters of these stories must be satisfied that the source is credible and reliable and that there is a substantial journalistic justification for using the source’s information without attribution. Granting anonymity is rare – and requires a process with multiple edits and considerations. When a newsmaker insists on background or off-the-record ground rules, we must adhere to strict guidelines:
The material is not opinion or speculation, and is vital to the report.
The information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity imposed by the source.
The source is reliable, and in a position to have direct knowledge of the information.
The information is confirmed by an on-the-record source or documentation.
During the eight months of reporting this story, we spoke to five residents, two family members, six former employees and a source within the Adult Protective Services, two with the State Ombudsman’s office and two from the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services. Some of these sources are named, and others are using alternate names for their safety and protection. The names Gina and Sue within the story are pseudonyms.
I remember my great-grandmother Athena standing tall, leaning against her red-brick porch, beckoning my brother and me to come inside at the little house on the little street in California.…
26 Apr 2023
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