Proper referencing is a must in any type of mass media, and every journalist must know how to correctly cite their sources and include a bibliography. This article will tell you all about citations and bibliography in journalism.
Why cite your sources?
One of the most asked questions by amateur journalists is pretty concerning. Professionals know that this is an essential part of writing a credible article, so it is important to explain the reasons for citations to beginners:
1. Giving Credit: You must show that you respect the person who wrote or said your quote or the source from which you got the information from.
2. Being Credible: To make your readers trust you and what you talk about in your article, you must include sources
3. Helping Readers: While being credible is certainly more important, helping your readers trace back the sources from which you got the facts is obviously needed too. After all, they might be quoting you in their own articles.
Finding the Source
Of course, there are journalists just like you who either forgot or simply didn’t want to credit their sources. This puts you in a peculiar situation when you can’t properly credit the actual source. For such cases, online reference generator tools exist, such as the Harvard Reference Generator.
This website is a reliable source that helps you find the right book, website, article, newspaper, and many other sources.
This video detailing how you can use Harvard Generator in Microsoft Office Word.
But even if you know the source and what you want to reference, you should be able to correctly format and insert the citation, and this takes us to the next part.
There are four main citation styles when it comes to referencing in research papers, and they are:
However, these styles can’t exactly apply for an article written by a journalist, because they are used for research papers. On the other hand, referencing for journalists is much easier.
Citations in news reports and any other articles are actually quite freeform. If you go through some articles in online newspapers or magazines, you will see a certain pattern in the way that the authors of the articles reference their sources.
Here are the basic ‘rules’:
1. Always name your source: It doesn’t matter if it is only one person or a group of people, you should always name the source. For example, in news reports, you can often find such phrases as “according to the police” or “says the victim”, etc. If you want to reference an organization or institute, include the full name of the organization. In case that the source wants to stay anonymous, you can always write “as reported by an anonymous source”.
2. Quotes should be attributed: If there are quotes in your text, then you must always include the person who spoke the words.
3. Quotes must be right: Always make sure that your quote is exact. If the person made a grammatical mistake, you might, however, want to change that up.
A bibliography should only be included if you are citing a book, article, newspaper, etc. To include a bibliography, make a separate section at the end of your article and list the sources with their authors and any other identifying data, such as their date of publication, ISBN, publishing house, online website or magazine, etc.