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DigitalJournal.com Tip #12: How to properly attribute sources

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By David Silverberg
Posted Aug 10, 2009 in Internet
In the last Tip blog post, we discussed how to link to sources. As you know, sourcing your facts and quote is essential. But sometimes beginning writers merely embed a link and don't mention where they got that info.
It's not enough to simply paste in a URL. Digital Journalists should also attribute the source.
What do you think of this sentence? "Taliban attackers seized control of a building in Kabul Monday."
That's halfway there. The link is great, but where's the attribution? The sentence should read: " Taliban attackers seized control of a building in Kabul Monday, the New York Times reported."
Adding the New York Times section is essential to bringing another layer of credibility to your articles. You should do this in every article you write, as it's important to say where your information is coming from.
For a DigitalJournal.com example, check out Michael Krebs' recent article on the U.S. deficit. Michael properly attributes The Hill in all the quotes, while also including the appropriate link.
You may need to attribute sources several times in one article, if you include more than one URL. It's also recommended to attribute facts, quotes, past reports/background and embedded videos.
In Special Reports, when you interview people and witness events live, you should also attribute who you spoke to, what you attended, etc. Let us know you were there live to report on an event. Make sure you write the proper name and age of interview subjects.
Any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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