OLD Media Moves

How a NY Times biz reporter protects confidential sources

September 18, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

David Enrich

New York Times finance editor David Enrich talked about his job and how he does his reporting and writing.

Here is an excerpt:

So you often edit and report on sensitive stories. How do you protect the confidentiality of sources and leave no digital trace?

I use encrypted chat programs like WhatsApp and Signal for communicating with sources and, increasingly, colleagues. (It beats Slack, which is the bane of my existence.) For security’s sake, my colleagues and I generally avoid discussing confidential sources via electronic communications.

I take notes by hand rather than by typing. One reason is that sources hear a keyboard clacking and are reminded that a journalist is keeping track of what they say — not helpful! Also, my proprietary, heavily encrypted note-taking system (i.e. illegible handwriting) ensures that my little spiral notebooks are useless to anyone other than me.

As an aside, can I mention that LinkedIn is wonderful? I use it on a near-daily basis to identify and make contact with potential sources. Sometimes I just loiter on the site. Earlier this year, I noticed that a Deutsche Bank employee had viewed my profile. I sent him a message asking if he’d like to talk. He said yes, we spoke by phone, and soon I was pursuing what would become a front-page story.

Read more here.

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