“When you’re dealing with anonymous sources, they’re not anonymous to you; you know who they are,” Dan Kennedy, an assistant journalism professor school at Northeastern University, said in an interview.
“That is an important part of the consideration that goes into whether you use the source or not,” he added.
A system where anonymous leakers are dropping documents into a folder has advantages when government investigators start probing a story’s sources, but it also creates tremendous disadvantages. “The government can’t come after you to find out who gave you the document because you have no way of knowing,” Kennedy said.
“That gives more protection to the source, but it makes it harder to vet the document because you don’t know who gave it to you,” he said. “It makes news organizations into Wikileaks.”