Tag Archives: nsz101

Demystifying reporter’s privilege and shield laws

By SB Anderson

For decades, authorities have relied on various state and federal laws to investigate reporters and their sources, to issue them subpoenas and to use the threat of prosecution and incarceration to get them to cooperate.

In response, journalists and their lawyers have fought back by claiming “reporter’s privilege,” with varying degrees of success.

These issues have come to a head over the past decade as the Bush and Obama administrations have used unprecedented aggressiveness in going after reporters and their sources.

The newest How-To briefing from the Medill National Security Initiative’s Josh Meyer also provides journalists with information about what to steps to take to protect themselves from being subpoenaed, and what to do if they are subpoenaed, or come under investigation and possible prosecution.

Read the full briefing.

Covering nuclear weapons: Secretive but not inscrutable

By SB Anderson

Penetrating the world of nuclear weapons is not as hard for a determined journalist as you might think – or as the government might like you to think. It is secretive but not inscrutable.

If you are committed and well-prepared, you can find news in this field and illuminate an aspect of U.S. national security that can seem like an abstraction, even an anachronism, but is still relevant to the lives of all Americans.

The key is knowing where to look, how to decipher the military lingo and why it matters what is taking place within the insular world of nuclear forces. You don’t need to be a military expert or a rocket scientist.

Continue reading our new National Security zone how-to guide on covering nuclear weapons. It was written by Bob Burns of the Associated Press, who has been doggedly breaking stories — and sparking investigations and reforms — about problems within Air Force-run operations that oversee our land-based nuclear arsenal.

Reporting tips from a military insider

By SB Anderson

Nolan Peterson

Over at Medill National Security Zone, we’ve launched our latest how-to guide for national security reporters, this one from on a military-insider-turned journalist.

“The military trains for interacting with the press the same way it trains for interrogation and torture as a prisoner of war. And as unfair as it may be, that is the stigma that you as a journalist have to overcome when you approach a member of the military. I shared this skepticism and distrust of the press during my career as an Air Force special operations pilot,” Nolan Peterson writes in his main story.

As he sees it, your challenge as a journalist is to:

  • Overcome the stigma
  • Build rapport
  • Ask intelligent and sophisticated questions
  • Balance producing objective and accurate journalism with the military’s job to protect the American people.

Peterson ia former special operations pilot and a combat veteran with multiple degrees in political science, French and journalism. As a freelance writer, he has covered international affairs and national security and have been published by several national publications. Read his how-to tips.

Covering local military installations

By SB Anderson

Our latest how-to guide just added to the Medill National Security Zone vault: how to begin covering a local military installation.

Hugh Lessig of the Daily Press in Virginia, who has about a dozen military facilities in his area, offers tips on how to deal with public affairs officers and navigate the bureaucracy; suggestions for ways to cover the significant local economic impact that most installations have; and best practices for communicating with troops and their families. → Explore The Local Base Beat.

Using social media on the national security beat

By SB Anderson

Our latest how-to guide: Doug Haddix, a veteran journalist and now director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University shares his tips and advice on how to effectively use social media to cover the national security beat. 

Haddix dives into Facebook, social search, Twitter and LinkedIn and offers a variety of helpful links to key resources for journalists within the government and social networks. 


Our newest how-to guide: Excel Part II

By SB Anderson

We just posted the second part of our guide to uisng Excel to analyze national security data. In this segment, Brendan McGarry of Bloomberg News dives into filters, subtotals and pivot tables. In this “NSZ101,” as we call our how-tos — you get a text step-by-step tour, with a couple of demo videos by yours truly. (And you can see the first part of the Excel 101 here).