New York Times Ethics In Online Porn Story Debated

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New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald was criticized by Jack Shafer, media critic for Slate.com, for helping arrange legal aid for the young subject of an investigative story on Internet child porn. The story was summarized yesterday in Crime & Justice News. Shafer writes that Eichenwald “loses control of his 6,500-word investigation when he appears two-thirds through it to serve not as a reporter but as the legal advocate and protector of the now 18-year-old [Justin] Berry.” The Times had “urged him to give his information to prosecutors, and he agreed,” said the newspaper’s story. Justin got in touch with a Washington, D.C., lawyer who had been interviewed by the Times. Shafer speculates that future story subjects will expect reporters to help them get legal aid.

In a reply to Shafer, Eichenwald says the link to a lawyer was offered after Berry “revealed the identities of specific children in specific places who he said were being molested, filmed and exploited by adult pedophiles.” He added: “I can go to sleep at night knowing that kids who were in horrible situations have been saved. I’m not sure I could have handled the alternative choice of just standing back and letting it happen–and I hope you would have criticized us for that if we did.”

Link: http://www.slate.com/id/2132702/fr/rss/

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