In the wake of the Jordan Graham guilty plea, the Missoulian offered a story that contained an unusual journalistic technique: printing quotes from anonymous Twitter feeds.
From the story by Alice Miller:
“I think they should’ve held out for first (degree murder). She would have been found guilty. At least no parole,” an anonymous Twitter handle set up to advocate for Johnson tweeted to a reporter.
“Please send thoughts & prayers to Cody’s mom Sherry. Had a tough week, but she’s a true inspiration. Love you Sherry,” @whokilledCody tweeted later.
As I often like to mention with a certain degree of snark, I don’t have a journalism degree. Perhaps ethical standards have changed, but it’s impossible for me to imagine how such a quote either informs the public or meets basic journalistic standards. It’s bad enough when reporters give cover to anonymous political sources who are clearly self-interested, but at least there’s a real person at the other end of the interview.
It’s sloppy—and a terrible precedent, even if a new, totally credible source for the Missoulian would disagree: