I'm not totally sure what I should be including with this post, but this blog has to start somewhere, so here goes nothing.
Below you'll find some of the more interesting links I came across in my research into media anonymity. I encourage you to click on them, read them, ponder them, and perhaps even post about them. I'll be checking the comments every day or so, and I'll do my best to moderate things in a timely and intelligent manner.
John Peter Zenger went on trial in 1735 for publishing anonymous attacks against the governor of New York. Andrew Hamilton successfully defended Zenger, and as a result, established a framework for free (and anonymous) press in America.
An analysis of the Zenger trial by Douglas O. Linder, professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City: Zenger's Anonymous Publishing Gives Birth to Free Press
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, reporters for the Washington Post, changed how anonymous sources are used and perceived with their now-infamous "Deepthroat" interviews. The anonymous "Deepthroat" leak and accompanying story reinforced the idea of truth as a defense against libel. It also showcased the power of anonymous sources.
A four-part story from the Washington Post about the Watergate scandal. Parts one and four are of particular interest: "Deepthroat" Identified as Former FBI Official Mark Felt
In 1980 Janet Cooke fabricated a story about an eight-year-old heroin addict named Jimmy. Jimmy did not exist, many of the named sources she cited did not exist, and, obviously, all of the anonymous sources she cited did not exist. The story "earned" her the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. However, after the story was revealed to be fraudulent, she gave up the prize as well as her job at the Post. Janet's story illuminates how anonymous sources can easily be abused--and also how they can create a snowball effect of fabrication.
The story itself: Jimmy's World
Bill Green, the Washington Post's ombudsman (an internal critic and reviewer), researched why and how the fabrication was published: How She Got Away With It
A recent Washington Post blog article about the anniversary of the story, and its relevance today: Janet Cooke and Jimmy's World
The Obama administration may be taking steps to change the internet's "dog problem"--anonymity.
An interesting article from the New York Times: Who Are You Really?
Meanwhile, China may be taking steps to rid the web of all anonymity.
An article from the BBC about China's steps to make people use their real names: China Targets Online Commenter Anonymity
Lastly, I'll leave you with links to two of my favorite blogs.
One is called "Hipster Runoff"--it's a satire site about all things 'hip,' 'relevant,' and 'alternative.' It's certainly not for everyone, it's certainly NSFW, and it's certainly sloppy journalism (although I definitely read things here that I would not ever see anywhere else). However, it's an anonymous blog, and its style--it's "brand"--is what keeps people coming back. The author is a mysterious person known only as "Carles." The site is an excellent example of how a blog can use anonymity to its marketing advantage.
The other site is a "full-disclosure" blog by New York author Tao Lin. Lin's blog is unique in that he divulges just about every piece of personal information you could ever possibly want to know about him. He does not hide behind the internet at all. His site is an excellent example of how a blogger can use all the details of their identity to their marketing (and "branding") advantage.
Hipster Runoff is a music and lifestyle blog owned, maintained, and operated by the mysterious 'Carles.' It receives thousands of hits a day, sometimes has weird poetry, and sometimes is NSFW: Hipster Runoff
Tao Lin is a published author who lives in New York City and regularly Tweets and blogs about the relatively mundane minutia of his life. Dig around his blog and you'll definitely find "TMI" about him: heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com
Alright, that's it for me. I look forward to reading your comments and watching everyone else's presentations!