Yesterday in the Opinion
section of the New York Times, Dean Baquet, editor, The Los Angeles Times, and Bill Keller,
executive editor, The New York Times

published an article about the responsibility of the press: When
Do We Publish a Secret?

The investigative process
of considering several sources, analyzing information to look for anomalies, investigating
contradictions, looking for personal agendas, and double or triple checking the
facts seems like the easier part of the dilemma.  

The harder part, and the
part for which they’ll endure far more scrutiny, is determining whether or not “the
secret” should be published.

Through one example,
national security, this article brings into focus the world of gray in which we

While some decisions may
be easy (“editing out gratuitous detail that lends little to public
understanding but might be useful to the targets of surveillance”), most are
not so black and white.  

When the world is gray,
how do you make a decision?

First, we need to rely on some
general principles to define our actions, and as Jeff
points out – maybe a few publicly shared standards.

While we shouldn’t
try to account for every situation
we could encounter, some over arching
principles would help us, and the people who work with us, make more consistent

In the end, we all act
according to our conscience in interpreting that framework. We all have to think
and we’re
for what we decided to do. 

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