New Scientist Reporter Attempts to Deceive IDEA Club - October 6, 2006
The IDEA Center and affiliated IDEA Clubs have a long history of happily cooperating with reporters, including reporters from hostile scientific journals. Our philosophy as an organization is to be upfront and honest about our beliefs and activities, even if that brings us criticism; our usual experience with past reporters has been that they too have been upfront and honest in their intentions and identities.
Yet the Cornell IDEA Club has documented how a reporter from New Scientist has been using false identities and impersonating a Cornell student named "Maria" in an "unnecessary ruse" to extract information from them for an article. The Cornell IDEA Club thus sent the following letter to New Scientist:
As a club, we promote a civil and informed discussion of intelligent design where all viewpoints—whether hostile or friendly—are always welcome. Therefore we are happy to have anyone come to our meetings, including hostile reporters. But it appears that your reporter acted unethically and lied to us about her identity and falsely claimed she was a Cornell student in an unnecessary ruse to obtain information from us. Is it your policy to have your reporters misrepresent their identities?
President, IDEA Cornell
Code of Ethics issued by the Society of Professional Journalists
"Staff members should disclose their identity to people they cover (whether face to face or otherwise), though they need not always announce their status as journalists when seeking information normally available to the public. Staff members may not pose as police officers, lawyers, business people or anyone else when they are working as journalists."
New York Times Journalistic Ethics Code