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The Wired Reporter

SFU's New Media Journalism Program

Leaving behind a digital trail:

Digital Journalists must find new ways to protect sources

There’s a great example in the Columbia Journalism Review of how digital journalists need to find new ways to protect their  sources. The digital information we collect while reporting, such as video, recorded interviews and cellphone records, offer scrupleless governments a bread crumb trail back to the sources we may be trying to protect.

This example is a bit extreme and not something most reporters will ever have to deal with. It involves a British journalist conducting interviews with underground activists in Syria. Given the bloodshed unleashed by the Bashar al-Assad’s regime, any member of the press has a moral responsibility to protect individuals they interview.

In this case, things went sideways and the reporter was arrested, his digital information seized and used to track down the activists. Some disappeared while others had to flee the country with only the clothes on their backs.

Here’s the link to the article.

• To learn more about digital journalism, enrol in the New Media Journalism Certificate program offered by Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies.

• Don’t forget to visit SFU’s New Media Journalism on Twitter and Facebook for more discussions and articles.

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