I don’t want to sound insensitive to Laura Ling’s situation. She’s obviously pursuing a tough assignment and giving coverage to people in a terrible situation. A socially worthy endeavor.
That said, she made the mistake of using Twitter in a way that I believe will get people in all sorts of trouble over time:
“Hoping my kimchee breath will ward off all danger”
“Spent the day interviewing young N. Koreans who escaped their country. Too many sad stories.”
She better hope her kimchee breath will ward off the North Korean court system from using these updates as evidence against her in whatever form of trial that country might put on. Look, I get that using Twitter fulfills some odd desire in people to feel like every single detail of their lives is worthy of 140 characters of text broadcast to the world. That’s totally fine in my book. Whatever provides people with entertainment, I’m all for it.
However, if you’re an investigative journalist, don’t you think it might be wise not tell the world when you might be sneaking around one of the most dangerous borders in the world and conversing with people who would be considered criminals likely worthy of death in their native country?
Worse now is that the North Koreans can use her and her collegue as leverage in international negotiations.
The lesson from this:
– Maybe throttle back the content a bit? I’m sure that some coy and obscure updates might serve an investigative reporter better than explictly saying where they are.