Letter to the Editor | Journalists already in danger

One day after the attack on the Capitol in Washington, USAToday posted on Twitter that the newspaper “needs help identifying the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol,” then implored readers to follow a link to view the photos and fill out a form.

Journalists have used social media to help identify people who could be key to telling a story, but this struck me as something that could be seen by some as working hand in hand with law enforcement to track down suspects in a crime. Doing so independently in the course of investigative journalism is one thing, but doing it as an extension of law enforcement efforts could put journalists in more danger then they already are.

Put it this way, if you’re a journalist covering a rally, what would stop people who already distrust you from assuming that you might be sharing your images or notes with the police? It’s simply reckless for a newspaper to put their photographers and reporters in this position.

Rich Saal
Former photo editor, Springfield State Journal-Register

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