The anatomy of leaks: Tracing the path of unauthorized disclosure in the Israeli press

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Abstract

An innovative methodology of face-to-face reconstruction interviews with the reporters who had authored a sample of news items allowed wide and systematic research access to one of the most sensitive and virtually unapproachable spheres of journalism - leaks. The main findings were that (1) leaks were highly prevalent - each fifth item involved the sensitive practice; (2) the dominant leakers were senior sources; (3) the favorite channel for leaks was the telephone; (4) leaked stories were initiated equally by reporters and sources; and (5) leaks were cross-verified with additional sources much more frequently than non-leaked items. The study, which took place in Israel, focused on national daily press reporters and their contacts with news sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-581
Number of pages27
JournalJournalism
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008

Keywords

  • Anonymous sources
  • Communication technology
  • Informal channels
  • Israel
  • News initiative
  • News sources
  • News-making
  • Secrecy

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