I have heard the arguments about the need to keep reporters from becoming part of the story and being tainted by involvement in public policy formation. But journalism, like government, is not a purist’s redoubt. Consider the issue of government surveillance. Battles over protecting news sources were frontpage news during the dramatic National Security Agency revelations. Journalists are obviously part of that story—in some ways they are the story—advocating for stronger legislative safeguards to protect themselves and their profession when they disclose controversial national security information. Yet national security source protection is one component of a wider range of privacy challenges growing out of an environment where advertisers, content producers, and politicians want to know everything about us. Frankly, most citizens I meet worry as much, or more, about their personal privacy than national security disclosure. It is difficult for me to detect a bright line between these two privacy issues, yet one seems to elicit more journalist advocacy than the other.

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