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Sources are like pieces of evidence that a journalist or news outlet gathers up in preparation for telling their story. Each different source will add nuance and interest helping to move the story along. Journalism is the process of gathering these sources together and it is also the end product of this process.

Using Hillary Clinton as the storied example, these are the typical kinds of sources a journalist or news outlet will use to present you with the news:

Eye witnesses

Eye witnesses are vital for being able to report a story of public interest. Ideally, we want to be hearing about the story directly from people who were there at the time the story broke. Below is a clip with expert witness ex FBI watchdog Charles McCullough. They are discussing Hillary Clintons alleged 2100 secret e mails sent through a private server.


Experts are called on by journalists and news outlets to explain complicated topics that require specialist knowledge to understand. Below is a clip with Tom Fitton who is president of an organisation known as “Judicial Watch”. They are discussing alleged paid for access to then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

Official documents

Official documents are useful for journalists as they provide government or organisation approved information and will tend to be high quality documents although this will not always be the case. Below is access to the FBI’s 36 part review of the investigation in to Hillary Clinton’s alleged private e mail server

Leaked documents

Journalists will often source leaked documents while developing their stories. Below is access to the 33,000 e mails alleged to have been procured from Hillary Clinton’s private e mail server while she was serving as secretary of state from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014 .

Research articles

A savvy journalist will access high quality research to add weight and credibility to a story. The kinds of research journalists tend to access will vary in quality. Below is an example of an academic article relating to Hillary Clinton’s loss in the US 2016 presidential election


Journalists and news outlets should always seek to provide video evidence for their story if it exists. Sometimes there is no direct access to video evidence in which case the journalist would seek to use as many other sources as possible. Below is an interview with Hillary Clinton in 2015 where she denies the existence of her alleged private e mail server.


Journalists will often seek to include any images related to their story to enhance their presentation of news. Below is an image of what looks like Hillary Clinton with a protrusion sticking out of her back under her jacket.

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