October 6, 2003

Let me lurk

Can I lurk? Yes. Absolutely.

The issue of reporters lurking in chatrooms and in certain restricted area on the net in the OJR article got me thinking...Could I use this method? It seemed to work for Jennifer Egan.

In her story, she could not use the "traditional methods" of journalism as ruled by the SPJ Code. She had to resort to the Internet to gather sources. And good for her. She found the information she needed and built upon it for a great story with multi-faceted (ie. children on the Internet) subject lines.

And then there are the people in the chatrooms that feel their privacy has been violated; they should realized that everything on the Internet could be quoted, or published--so--WATCH WHAT YOU WRITE. Maybe disclaimers at the top of each room could be useful (if they aren't already there--I don't do the chatroom-thing).

Journalists, though crossing a code line, are doing what they should to find information: using the most current resource--the Internet--to find and publish a story.

I would love to use this method. Investigative reporters have been using covert methods to create a story for years, regardless what the SPJ Code has said. Remember Watergate?

According to Andrew Skvarca and Jennifer Cilia, it is unethical. Guys take another look--it is what journalism is all about, using the newest medium possible to publish information. The people on the sites know that they can be quoted. The Internet is not a safe place to put "private" information, and yet they do. That is their risk.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at October 6, 2003 8:50 AM

Amanda, you're probably right. I'm not trying to say that you're wrong, but if the Internet was Jennifer Egan's last resort, then there were a lot of possibilities on how she could use it... including going to chat rooms. Then again, it all has to do with anonymous sources, like Kate Cielinski posted in the comments section of that particular post in my blog. Anyway, what do you think about what Kate commented on?

(I hope that link worked!)

Posted by: Jen at October 6, 2003 12:45 PM

It didn't work! How come you can't link on a comment section?

Posted by: Jen at October 6, 2003 12:46 PM

please go to read my response on this issue. I think that maybe I can shed some light on the issue of why (in some of our opinions) lurking is so wrong.

I truly understand that there is nothing private on the internet, as I state in my blog; however, we should not have to feel threatened by the environment or be under the spotlight for journalists any time they feel like asking questions in chats/message boards, or quoting. (And speaking of quoting, isn't it WRONG to quote without permission??? Just because someone identifies themselves by a screen name rather than their real name doesn't mean that they don't have rights to what they say.)

Posted by: Karissa at October 10, 2003 3:45 PM
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