Alan Rusbridger The Guardian

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger takes to Reddit to warn of NSA threat to journalism - and quote Malcolm Tucker

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

July 31, 2013 | 4 min read

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger warned that the recent NSA spying and surveillance revelations present a serious threat to journalism during a Q&A on social forum Reddit on Wednesday afternoon.Rusbridger discussed the title’s coverage of the massive whistle blower revelations from Edward Snowden, developments within the journalism and media industries and even found time for a Malcolm Tucker quote.Speaking about the repercussions of the NSA leaks on journalism, Rusbridger said: “I don’t think most news organisations have remotely considered the threat to journalism potentially posed by the methods revealed in the Snowden documents. “One basic question: how are we going to have secure communication with sources in future - by phone, by chat, by email, by anything except face to face contact? “And, obviously, the use of the Espionage Act - a First World War panic measure passed in 1917 - to clamp down on whistleblowing is really dismaying. But the US still has the First Amendment. Wish we had one of those in the UK.”Rusbridger added that he had become much more careful about “everything digital” since the US and UK spying revelations: “The more you read of these documents, the more you realised they’re across pretty much everything,” he said.One poster on the community forum asked Rusbridger if global scoops on that scale had a significant impact on the business and circulation of the paper. In short, the answer was no.“Complicated answer: huge readership on mobile and website. Hasn’t made much impact on print sales. So, no direct revenues,” he explained. “It has also been very expensive: it’s involved a considerable number of reporters, several lawyers, a great deal of cost in travel/hotels etc etc.“Happily, the Guardian has been owned by a family Trust since the 1930s. That means that the main imperative for what we do is journalistic. The business side of the operation completely support this kind of editorial endeavour because they understand that’s the mission.“Having said that, we do have to make money. And this kind of reporting does - hopefully - reinforce a perception of the Guardian as a paper that still does proper journalism. And that, in the end, builds a readership and a reputation. And that’s being reflected in our digital revenues (grew last year 28.9 per cent to £55.9m). So, in the end, good journalism = good business. That’s the theory, anyway!”When another poster brought up the suggestion of The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi, who plays Malcolm Tucker, playing Rusbridger in an upcoming movie about the Guardian’s Wikileaks story, Rusbridger responded with a classic Tucker quote: “Capaldi as Alan Rusbridger? About as much use as a marzipan dildo. Fuckity-bye!”During the Q&A, Guardian writer Jack Schofield tweeted Rusbridger’s Reddit authentication picture.

Genuine Article: Rusbridger's Reddit authentication picture

Alan Rusbridger The Guardian

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