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Articles by Lauren Kirchner | Email the Author

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How free is the free press?

In the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures, that’s the question everyone is asking

On January 30, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and CJR hosted a lively panel discussion on "Journalism... More

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Why Skype isn’t safe for journalists

Here are some alternatives for secure voice calls to use instead

At last month's "Journalism After Snowden" event at Columbia University, Guardian US editor in chief Janine Gibson described the very... More

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The Obama administration’s pursuit of whistleblowers is taking a toll

The US dropped 13 Points in the Global Press Freedom Index

Last year was a rough one for freedom of the press in the US, and it shows. Every year, Reporters... More

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Digital security covering the Olympics

How reporters covering the Games are—or aren’t—protecting their stuff

NBC Nightly News broadcast a very alarming report last week ahead of the Olympic Games in Sochi, showing just how... More

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Reporting in the post-Snowden era

A panel at Columbia discussed challenges and triumphs

Photo credit: Columbia University/Eileen Barroso In an auditorium so large that Columbia's Journalism School typically only uses it for... More

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Bloggers versus the courts

An online writing defamation roundup

Like many defamation cases, Roger Shuler's is legally complicated. As the proprietor of the Alabama political blog Legal Schnauzer, Shuler... More

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Wide media reaction to NSA speech

Reactions ranged from cautious optimism, to frustrated disappointment, to a what-did-you-expect kind of resigned acceptance

Before it got overshadowed by David Remnick's epic New Yorker profile of President Obama, the big news involving the White... More

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FOIA fight for NSA documents continues

The government has released some heavily-redacted legal opinions, but ProPublica, the ACLU, and others say that’s not enough

This past November, ProPublica attempted to open up "the smallest nesting doll" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's legal opinions... More

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Easy email encryption

LEAP hopes its open-source, encrypted email will be useful for journalists and newsrooms

Email, that daily workflow staple, is becoming a real problem in this post-Snowden era. Or rather, it always has been... More

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The cute, friendly encryption tool (updated)

Cryptocat will soon be available for iPhone and Android

Update, January 6, 2014: As of the end of December 2013, the Cryptocat app for iPhone had been rejected by... More

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Jana Winter’s victory

And what she lost along the way

On Tuesday, The New York Court of Appeals overturned a subpoena that's been hanging over investigative reporter Jana Winter's head... More

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How to ditch photo metadata

Or, how to avoid pulling a Vice

Just about everyone has heard by now the cautionary tale of Vice Magazine's accidental outing of a source's location, and... More

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ProPublica FOIAs for NSA surveillance info

ProPublica’s right-of-access motion in the FISA court last week followed similar filings by the ACLU and Yale

ProPublica's coverage of government surveillance, both before and since The Summer of Snowden, has been thorough and revelatory--and it's far... More

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Teaching j-school students cyber-security

How journalism schools are preparing students for the technical and legal challenges ahead

Back in the dark ages of January, 2012, my colleague Alysia Santo wrote a thoughtful piece about how journalism schools... More

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Warnings from whistleblowers past

A national tour provides advice for future whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them

Following Edward Snowden's leaks to the press about the scope of NSA surveillance, public opinion polls have posed questions like,... More

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Old law, new tricks

Can we modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act?

In 1986, the year President Reagan signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), most reporters did their work with a... More

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When sources remain anonymous

SecureDrop, a new tool for communicating with unknown sources, could be best described as the digital equivalent of slipping a fat manila envelope under a door

On Tuesday, Forbes became the first media outlet to launch its own version of SecureDrop, an online application designed to... More

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Invoking ‘reporter’s privilege’ for documentary footage

Making sense of recent rulings, and considering best practices

Documentary filmmakers can spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours with their subjects--often leaving the camera running the whole time.... More

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Coming to terms with ‘digital footprints’

National security reporters spoke sourcing and encryption at CATO’s conference on the NSA

Almost everyone at The CATO Institute's conference--"NSA Surveillance: What We Know; What to Do About It"--on Wednesday agreed that government... More

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Why journalists can still trust Tor

Despite the Silk Road bust, the Freedom Hosting attack, and even the latest Snowden scoop, it’s still one of the most reliable tools for anonymity online

I'm not going to bury the lede. Yes, Tor is still the recommended method for journalists and others who need... More

Stop using ‘Brooklyn’ to mean hipster neighborhoods - Elite-oriented outlets typically only cover the borough’s most affluent, Manhattan-adjacent neighborhoods

The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists - Katie Townsend joins the organization as its first litigation director

How a Nebraska newspaper kicked off a major prison sentencing scandal - The Omaha World-Herald found that hundreds of inmates were being released early

On media freedom, United Nations plays by its own rules - Months of international crises raises the stakes for reporting on the UN, but investigative journalists remain without a right to information

Keep calm and write a headline worth reading - Ease up on the exaggerations because someday you may need those explosive adjectives when a truly big story lands


Adviser of high school paper that refused to use ‘Redskins’ suspended (Student Press Law Center)

“Amid a months-long battle with administrators for editorial control … the Playwickian’s faculty adviser was suspended for two days this week”

Apple’s ‘warrant canary’ disappears (GigaOm)

Apple included language in its first Transparency Report to say that it had not been subject to a Section 215 Patriot Act request. That language is now gone.

Trend Piece (New Yorker)

Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. Isn’t the buzzword on your mind now? Perhaps it is on other people’s minds? Read on or you’ll be clueless, dated, and without any friends in the world. Buzzword again!

This Is How Joanna Coles Changed Cosmo (Refinery29)

The British reporter-turned-editor has made good on her promises to bring politics to the magazine, win some very big-deal journalism awards, and secure the most interesting exclusive interviews

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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Questions and exercises for journalism students.