The term "multiple independent sources" in
Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the " news of the day" and that informs society to at least some degree. The word, a noun, applies to the occupation (prof ...
, criminal justice
, science and general
Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of evidence to increase understanding of a topic, characterized by a particular attentiveness ...
, refers to two or more unconnected
A person ( : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pro ...
An organization or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity—such as a company, an institution, or an association—comprising one or more people and having a particular purpose.
The word is derived fro ...
, entities or objects which provide a given set of
Information is an abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to inform. At the most fundamental level information pertains to the interpretation of that which may be sensed. Any natural process that is not completely random, ...
or samples. For example, two separate people who witness a traffic accident
, first hand
, could be considered independent sources. However, if one person witnessed the accident and told the other one about it, then they would not be ''independent'', since one would ''depend'' on the other for their information. Also, if two witnesses to an event discuss what they saw before they are consulted and agree on a consistent story, then they are also no longer independent. As another example, two scientific devices could be considered independent sources of measurement data, unless they shared the same wiring or electrical power supply (or similar factors).
Consulting multiple independent sources is a common technique for detecting
An error (from the Latin ''error'', meaning "wandering") is an action which is inaccurate or incorrect. In some usages, an error is synonymous with a mistake. The etymology derives from the Latin term 'errare', meaning 'to stray'.
In statistic ...
Deception or falsehood is an act or statement that misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. It is often done for personal gain or advantage. Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda and sleight ...
, as any
In vector calculus, divergence is a vector operator that operates on a vector field, producing a scalar field giving the quantity of the vector field's source at each point. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of th ...
s or contradictions between statements, or data samples, would likely indicate one of these.
The American judge
Billings Learned Hand ( ; January 27, 1872 – August 18, 1961) was an American jurist, lawyer, and judicial philosopher. He served as a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1909 to 1924 a ...
declared that "Right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many this is, and will always be, folly; but we have staked upon it our all."
[United States v. Associated Press 1943. (As cited in the ''Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations'' 4th ed. (2010) .)]
The New York Times
''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid ...
's'' minimal standard for reporting a fact not otherwise attributed to a single speaker is that it be verified by at least two independent sources.
is a situation where multiple sources ''appear'' to be independent, but in reality originate from a single source. Because circular reporting can happen inadvertently in many situations, extra care must be taken to ensure that multiple sources actually are independent, rather than interconnected in an obscure manner.
* Editorial independence
, not permitting advertisers to dictate news content