February 8, 2017
by Vianka McConville
If you’re looking for whistleblowers in the era of email hacking, why not list a phone number?
The New York Times has a system to receive confidential news tips which includes messaging apps, encrypted emails and snail mail, but omits a phone number. Unless the line was bugged, I would think a phone call would be the safest way to share confidential information.
As someone who has tried to call reporters at the Times, I assume direct phone numbers are nowhere to be found due to the volume of calls the publication receives on a daily basis. The phone system is a fortress. But that can be a blessing and a curse; reporters may avoid the world’s worst story ideas, but also could miss out on the next big tip.
Is it an attempt to thwart a deluge of unrelated calls or have people become too comfortable behind screens and encrypted messages to actually talk to folks?
November 22, 2016
by Dan Ward
When I saw the stories about Kris Kobach and his proposed plan as a potential leader of the Department of Homeland Security, my first thought was, “has this guy never heard of a manila folder?”
In case you missed it, Kobach met with President-Elect Trump and was photographed prior to the meeting holding what appears to be his strategic plan for the first year. Just a guess here, but I assume he did not plan to share his thoughts with the Associated Press prior to his discussion with the PEOTUS.
We in the public relations field often deal with confidential information regarding client projects. Generally speaking, we try not to walk into a group of journalists while prominently displaying that information.
Kobach’s flub does provide a good reminder for all of us. If you have information that you would prefer (or which must) remain confidential, secure it before you step outside of your office.
I offer one humble suggestion to Mr. Kobach, if he is chosen to serve. Make a beeline for the DHS office supply cabinet and grab a few manila folders. Your boss will thank you.