Nowadays, the majority of US-based newsrooms rely on primarily consumer-facing applications to facilitate secure communications with sources. Usage of tools like Signal, WhatsApp, Threema, and others, have spiked in usage as the most state-of-the-art way to ensure confidential conversations with at-risk leakers and whistleblowers. Documents flood newsrooms, sometimes in gigabytes at a time, and journalists need tools to interrogate that data in relative safety from device compromise, legal interception, all while getting the job at the accelerated speed of the news cycle. Let’s explore how these tools, from both a technical and behavioral usage standpoint, *make the news*. Sometimes in a good way, when a story comes out after months of clandestine collaboration with sources, and toiling over data that needs to be interrogated; sometimes in a bad way, when sources get burned, or organizations endanger themselves.
Harlo Holmes is the Director of Digital Security at Freedom of the Press Foundation. She strives to help individual journalists in various media organizations become confident and effective in securing their communications within their newsrooms, with their sources, and with the public at large. She is a media scholar, software programmer, and activist.