The Ethics Of Trespassing And Secret Recording

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Jack Rodolico is an upright guy. Incredibly conscientious, I’d say. At least that’s what I thought when he was a student of mine many, many years ago. Then I heard “A Mountain of Misconduct,” a documentary he produced with Reveal and I found myself scratching my head. Jack trespasses and uses secretly recorded phone calls in the doc and I thought: Whoa, what happened to Jack?

I had nothing to fear. Even though Jack readily admits he doesn’t remember much from the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics, he has stayed the course on the journalistic straight and narrow. On this episode of HowSound, Jack lays out his ethical justifications for dicey moments in his reporting.

By the way, while researching this episode of HowSound, I stumbled across this excellent resource on recording and privacy from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It includes a state by state guide to recording phone calls.

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  • Tom Faux

    6.01.16

    Reply

    Excellent meta-radio.

  • Isaac Shainblum

    6.01.16

    Reply

    Way to go Rob!!

  • Daniel Costello

    6.15.16

    Reply

    If your intention is to record phone calls for broadcast, you should be aware that that the FCC can fine stations for playing recordings of phone calls where consent to broadcast was not obtained before the recording started. From the Broadcast Law Blog: “[broadcasters] cannot start to broadcast a telephone conversation, or even to tape that conversation for later broadcast, without first getting the consent of the other person on the call.” http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2014/11/articles/35000-fcc-fine-for-tv-station-that-tapes-telephone-conversations-for-news-broadcast-without-prior-permission/ There are a number of additional articles there discussing fines by the FCC for violations of this rule. There is no exception for news or for free speech reasons, either.

  • Rob Rosenthal

    6.17.16

    Reply

    Very true, Daniel. Thanks for the info and links. — r

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