How I Use: NYT Anonymity Project

nytUPDATE, 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:

God, I love the internet.

UPDATE: Get the nyt-anonymity rss feed here.

2 Replies to “How I Use: NYT Anonymity Project”

  1. Pretty neat, Daniel. I see from today’s stories that you include several AP-produced stories – you may want to control for those as they aren’t bound by the same policy (not a knock on AP, just pointing out a distinction).

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