How Do Editors Decide to Publish Classified Info?

10.12.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Actual or purported national security secrets are routinely published not only by mainstream news organizations and best-selling authors but also by journals of opinion on the political left and right and the occasional blog. The ability to freely traverse the boundaries of classified government information, with only rare and isolated limitations, is practically a defining characteristic of American journalism.

But how do reporters and editors decide to publish classified information? How do they assess and respond to the concerns of government officials? What are the consequences?

These questions are explored in depth in a long article in the latest issue of American Journalism Review.

See “Judgment Calls” by Rachel Smolkin, AJR, October/November 2006.