Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fishing for a source

The internet isn’t just good for finding stories. It’s also helping reporters find sources. But when it comes to using the internet, how far is too far?

ABC News chief investigative reporter says his blog helped break the Foley story. Brian Ross told the blog not enough information to go to air. So reporters posted a smaller story on-line. Someone with the text records saw that post and forwarded the records to ABC.

Ross went to Foley and his aides. They confirmed the story and said Foley would be resigning at the end of the day.

Ross said that he sees the website "as a way to essentially make better use of all the work we did" on such stories.

Sounds like a win to me. But can journalists go too far?

By ratings standards, Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator” series is a huge success. But is it ethical by journalism standards?

Some don’t think so. Many would argue that posing as a 12 or 13 year-old to catch a child predatory for an interview is entrapment. And isn’t posing as something your not a cardinal no-no for the profession?

Potter’s Box this scenario out and you’re bound to ask the question: isn’t getting these guys off the street instrumental to “the greater good?”

Is it too far?

Posted by MR


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