Jay Rosen is a journalism professor at NYU (disclosure: he taught me). But it’s the summertime, school’s out, and so he’s in full-on blogging mode over at his site PressThink, which just turned ten years old.
In the wake of Edward Snowden and the NSA revelations, there’s plenty for a media critic like Rosen to chew on. We discussed how living in a surveillance state affects the media, what journalists can do to protect themselves, and why the tech press hasn’t been more diligent in investigating the connections between the NSA and the nation’s largest tech companies.
One way journalists can even the scales against the US’s multi-billion dollar surveillance apparatus, Rosen says, is to band together. In the upcoming film about Julian Assange, “The Fifth Estate,” the actor who plays Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger tells the New York Times’ Bill Keller they should partner up on the Wikileaks documents because ”we have the thumb drive, you have the first amendment.” The real Rusbridger says that’s pretty much how it went down.
Of course, not every news organization should work together on every story. Rosen says it’s healthy for news organizations to scrutinize each other’s reporting, though he does question the motives behind some critics of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Snowden to bring the classified NSA documents to light.
As for other ways journalists can protect themselves? Let’s just say Rosen never expected a few years ago that he’d teach encryption techniques to his students, but he’s going to start now.