Home > Journalism, Mobile/Cell Phone, Tools & Technology > Blogger’s Journalist’s house gets raided, why aren’t we more angry?
28 Apr

Blogger’s Journalist’s house gets raided, why aren’t we more angry?

Posted by 4 comments

Gizmodo's Tale of Apple's Next iPhone
Image by Gizmodo

Let’s gets this out of the way. There are a lot of unknowns here and probably lots of potential shady things yet to come out. This story, no doubt, has legs… and lots of them.

But, I have to say, I’m starting to feel really disappointed in the lack of outrage journalists are having to the Gizmodo raid. Maybe I’ve completely missed it, but we should be up in arms here!

And by “we,” I don’t just mean Webby nerds, tech geeks or digital dorks. By “we,” I mean journalists in every newsroom cross platform, across the country.

Where is the statement by the Society of Professional Journalists? The American Society of News Editors? The Online News Association, for heaven’s sake!?!?

If you missed it, Gizmodo posted a recap from their point of view, but here’s my understanding: (Note: You could easily do a search-and-replace here and change “lost” or “found” to “stolen” … or can you? Too soon to say.)

Act I: A new, prototype Apple iPhone was “lost” at a bar in the Bay Area. When this news first broke, many of us thought it was a crafty Apple P.R. stunt rather than a bonehead mistake. Turned out it was the latter and the bonehead employee was later named.

Act II: The “finder” of the phone allegedly attempted to contact Apple to make it aware of the misplaced device… but in the end, Gizmodo paid an estimated $5000 to get their hands on the “found” iPhone.

Act III: After Gizmodo posted a video and photos showcasing the “found” iPhone, it received a memo from Apple asking for their missing property back. The device was “bricked,” or remotely deactivated and made useless, presumably by Apple.

Act IV: Police raided the home of the blogger/reporter who posted the Gizmodo item. They actually knocked down his door while the blogger was not home and seized several pieces of equipment, which included laptops, iPad and more. The police have halted their investigation, once someone pointed about that the blogger is more than likely covered by the federal and state shield law.

Act V: ??? Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.

Again, let’s get certain things out of the way here.

Yes, Gizmodo practiced checkbook journalism to purchase the iPhone. This is not a practice many of us do, condone or can even afford. But, sorry y’all, this type of journalism exists and is more common than we’d like to think. (One word: Paparazzi.)

Second, no matter the quality of it, Gizmodo is actively doing journalism. It’s not part of a legacy masthed, but one that was built by covering tech news — and it does so fairly well.

Third, you and I don’t know the details yet of how that phone was truly acquired. Hell, if Gizmodo was smart, they probably didn’t ask. But the device was acquired… someone leaked it… someone lost it… someone stole it… but the “it” was, and still is, big news. (Did you know Nokia has a missing device? I’m guessing not. Why? Because it ain’t an iPhone.)

Lastly, a journalist’s house was raided by authorities in connection to the device that he openly admitted and publicized he had. Don’t you think that was a little over the top?

So, I am asking myself, why aren’t we more pissed here? Where is our journalistic outrage? Where is the angry mob with pitchforks defending the first amendment right?

Would we be more outraged if instead of the phone it was some classified government document? Or if instead of a corporation like Apple contacting the authorities, it was the government?

Y’all, this is one of the biggest stories in modern journalism and we need to be on top of this… we need to get angry… we need to pick up our pitchforks pens and craft, at the very least, a statement that says this is not okay!

I love Apple too, but I love journalism more.

  1. Spell Check
    April 28th, 2010 at 20:38 | #1

    Spell Check!

  2. April 29th, 2010 at 05:57 | #3

    I had a similar reaction when I started learning about this story, but I’m afraid the reason for the lack of uproar may be one or both of the following things: 1)There are still a *lot* of journalists out there who are so consumed by their traditional media that they tend to forget about/not pay attention to bloggers and other online journalists. I work in radio and I find that almost no one around me reads any blogs or online media. I think this is partly because of the average age of my colleagues (45-55) and partly because of the immense pressure coming from management to make the current product “perfect” before trying anything else. 2) I think a lot of younger journalists are a little bit afraid of coming out and saying if they think Gizmodo is covered under the shield law or not. I know I had to take a media law class in college but in my experience, young journalists aren’t as familiar with the laws that protect them and their craft as they probably should be.


  3. May 23rd, 2010 at 07:30 | #4

    Could be that people have recognized that receiving stolen property is a crime. In this case it may well be a felony. No shield law allows a journalist to receive stolen goods for a $5,000 price. Journalism is about information, not theft.

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