Several newly developing hybrid imaging methods (e.g., those combining electrical impedance or optical imaging with acoustics) enable one to obtain some auxiliary interior information (usually some combination of the electrical conductivity and the current) about the parameters of the tissues. This information, in turn, happens to stabilize the exponentially unstable and thus low-resolution optical and electrical impedance tomography. Various known instances of this effect have been studied individually. We show that there is a simple general technique (covering all known cases) that shows what kinds of interior data stabilize the reconstruction, and why. Namely, we show when the linearized problem becomes an elliptic pseudo-differential one, and thus stable. Stability here is meant as the problem being Fredholm, so the local uniqueness is not shown and probably does not hold in such generality. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.