Weighing Risk When the Reporting Is Dangerous

Hazards, though, may at times be more covert or specific to an individual. Mr. Wilson said his team had plans for those, too. Three basic areas of risk are most often used as markers for a response.

One occurs when a journalist has received a targeted threat. Another is seen when a journalist is assigned to a country in turmoil, such as Afghanistan after the government fell to the Taliban last summer, or in parts of Ukraine right now. Another occurs when a journalist is working on a sensitive article and a government, or a powerful group of people, may be unhappy with the subject of an investigation.

In Afghanistan last summer, it was not only reporters who were in danger. Translators, members of the office staff and other Afghans who had aided The Times faced reprisal from the Taliban for their association with a Western news organization. The Times helped them and their families — hundreds of people in all — flee the country.

One morning in August 2021, Steven McElroy, executive director of Newsroom Operations, received a call from Times leadership, who asked him to help resettle the group from Afghanistan. The Times found temporary residences in Houston and Mexico City, where around 200 people have since passed through or remain. The resettlement process is ongoing, and Mr. McElroy said he has been traveling between New York and the two cities, working with Times teams aiding the families.

“We’re not going to abandon anybody,” Mr. McElroy said.

Whether protecting a group of several hundred or a single person, The Times weighs all potential risks with the same scale. In Russia, the new legislation may not have directly threatened loss of life, but the inability to report — and the risk of 15 years in prison — was also taken into account. Times journalists from the Moscow bureau left safely; Mr. Troianovski is currently reporting from Istanbul, relying on sources who remain in Russia and, when necessary, taking measures to protect their identities.

The Times still has an office in Moscow, and hopes to return to reporting from Russia when it’s safe to do so. As in Afghanistan, and now Ukraine, reporters want to be on the ground to gather news firsthand.

“We have to balance our journalistic mission against the security risk,” Mr. Slackman said. “Our job is to cover the world. In order to cover the world, you have to be there.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Ukraine Identifies Russian Soldiers in Bucha Atrocities

Next Story

8,000 British Troops to Join Allied Exercises in Eastern Europe, Official Says

Latest from World