School for Scoundrels: NYT Teaches Reporters How to Destroy Records
The Fitzpatrick Plame investigation has spurred the New York Times into examining how their reporters conduct themselves. Apparently, the Gray Lady wants her staff to act more like terrorists and drug dealers. Reporters are being told to delete emails, destroy notes, and use disposable cell phones in order to stymie future investigations.
From the New York Observer:
Mr. Barstow [NYT investigative reporter] said he suggests disposing of story drafts and cutting back on telephone and e-mail contact with sources—or using disposable cell phones for important calls. Reporters should be wary of meeting sources at their offices, Mr. Barstow said, so as to avoid sign-in sheets and security cameras. In another point of conflict between bureaucracy and confidentiality, Mr. Barstow said he has recommended altering Times expense-sheet forms so that a reporter does not have to list the names of sources who have been taken out for lunch or dinner. And what about the original paper trail that reporters create for themselves? The very first discussion question on Mr. Keller’s memo promoting the seminar was “Should a reporter keep his notes?”
This shouldn't surprise anyone. The New York Times has put profit ahead of ethics for quite a while.