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Mind you manners

Well, no need to tell Danish journalists. A recent survey indicates they are held in such high esteem by their sources that the latest issue of Danish trade mag Journalisten poses the question: are Danish hacks too polite? 95 per cent of the sources in the survey feel they have been correctly quoted. Two of three sources think they have been well informed about the purpose of the interview, and two out of three even say the journalists were well or very well dressed...

The findings were so positive that Journalisten headlines its article about the survey "Excuse me - may I ask one tiny critical question?" and quotes media analyst Sören Schultz Jörgensen, who contributed to putting the survey together, saying: 'Journalists should ask themselves how they can conduct a form of journalism which isn't about being friends with their sources. In other words, it's not necessarily a sign of quality that the sources always are content. Sources should be challenged.'

However, the survey also indicates that one reason why the sources trust the journalists, and have much more respect for them than the population at large, is that most of the sources have been used pretty frequently, seven out of ten say they have been quoted more than ten times within the last three years. This says something about the journalists' ability to build relationships with their sources, but also points to the problems associated with talking to the same heads all the time.

The survey included 751 sources, who gave detailed answers about their experiences being used as sources in seven national Danish newspapers, and can be found here (in Danish).

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