State secrets

I was supposed to go to Google in New York this morning with three dozen leading worldwide editors over here for a World Editors Forum tour of the U.S. I was amazed that they were giong to make us all sign their NDA to get in. “But you can write about our free food and our scooters,” the Google factotum said. The editors growled. Further discussion. The sessions are on the record, she said, but everything else is off. If you see the unified theory of the universe on the white board, it seems, that’s their secret. One of the editors, from Dubai, refused to sign. I did, too. I’m allergic to NDAs. I think journalists should always fight them the way they should fight off-the-record talks with unnamed sources. So the editor and I came back to my CUNY office and we had a nice chat. The other editors followed an hour and a half later. They seemed unimpressed. Or their memories had been erased. Then I brainwashed them.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society robertdfeinman

    Keep up the good fight. Non attribution has turned into a way to use the press to do PR or spin for special interests.

    You might be interested in the new book “True Enough” by Farhad Manjoo. He mixes psychology with information dissemination and comes to the conclusion that lying to the public is easier than ever before.

  • http://questionsall.blogspot.com Carl

    Hmmm…are NDA’s evil?

  • http://www.pressthink.org Jay Rosen

    I spoke to that group, too. But it was at the AP. I didn’t have to sign anything to get in.

    I wonder if the NDA would have required you not to disclose what you talked about with the editors.

    Here is what I told them: “the press” must go on, regardless of what happens to newspapers.