Keeping a Story Out of the News For the Safety of Kidnap Victims

For seven months, The New York Times managed to keep out of the news the fact that one of its reporters, David Rohde, had been kidnapped by the Taliban. Thankfully, he escaped by climbing over a wall on June 19.

Days after Mr. Rohde was kidnapped in November, editing tussles began on his Wikipedia entry.

NY Times executives believed that publicity would raise Mr. Rohde’s value to his captors as a bargaining chip and reduce his chance of survival. Persuading another publication or a broadcaster not to report the kidnapping usually meant just a phone call from one editor to another, said Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times. But that was pretty straightforward compared with keeping it off Wikipedia.

Wikipedia, which operates under the philosophy that anyone can be an editor, and that all information should be public, is a vastly different world. More on how the story was treated by Wikipedia from the New York Times.

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