Pop Quiz: You are a journalists and have a great idea for a story, but no actual source--what do you do? Well, a blogger would just write about the story. I do that all the time. Some papers just make up fictional "railbirds." But what do you do if you are a Republic writer with an interesting story and no source?
Answer: Use the "Passive Voice Trick" to create a source.
Did you see yesterday's story about Greg Stanton?
More than $70,000 in mayoral candidate Greg Stanton's election war chest is being called into question, with concerns over whether the money should be considered an illegal campaign contribution.
So who is the source? Who is calling the contributions into question? Reporter Lynh Bui is calling the contributions into question, but she's not allowed to just come out and say that. She's also not allowed to use anonymous sources, so she solves the issue by making up fictional sources. It's actually a pretty handy trick.
If you read the story, you will see that Bui calls upon a few experts for their legal opinions, but those experts aren't the actual source of the story. There is no source. She just made it up. You know, just like they teach you in J school.