UPDATE, January 16, 2009: This post is good for finding out *why* I'm doing the NYT Anonymity Project, but it has the wrong methodology. See the NYT Anonymity Feed post for current method and NYT Anonymity Feed Yahoo! Pipe for current relevant excerpts from and links to articles that have information from an anonymous source.
Ever since the Jayson Blair fiasco at the New York Times, they changed their policy on granting anonymity to sources and explaining the reasons for that anonymity to readers. For a while now, readers have been routinely told why the Times believes a source is entitled to anonymity.
For a decades-long Times watcher like myself, I get a kick out of these subtle changes in the nature of my paper. Now, instead of just a plain-old "speaking on condition of anonymity" it is always followed up with a "because clause". Some of the because's are pretty lame (because they're scared of the person their talking about) and some are pretty funny (because it's illegal to talk about it) and others are personally treacherous (because the person they're talking about explicitly asked them not to).
So I decided to collect the more interesting reasons for extending anonymity at the NYT. I use two of my favorite, underutilized technologies. the first is NYT TimeSelect search, where I can get the complete text of everything published since 1981 for free just because I get home delivery. The other is Yahoo! My Web 2.0, where I can save and tag the pages with anonymity clauses for my own use and also annotate them with the text of the reason. The last thing I use is FeebBurner's BuzzBoost to automatically display the links, with the because clause, here on my weblog.
Here's some just from today:
- Congressman's Condo Deal Is Examined – New York Times
for fear of retribution.
- Afghan Lawmakers Review Court Nominees – New York Times
because he had not been authorized to speak on the matter.
- U.S., Japanese Officials Resume Beef Talks – New York Times
- Is Al Gore Running for President Again? – New York Times
because Gore has not authorized them to talk about his political future.
- Diplomats: U.N. Meeting Over Iran Delayed – New York Times
because of the confidential nature of the information.
God, I love the internet.
UPDATE: Get the nyt-anonymity rss feed here.