To the delight of livid online commenters, the Rockland County Times has published the names and addresses of journalists who work for the Journal News, a competitor in New York’s Hudson Valley, which caused a stir by publishing the names and addresses of registered gun owners in the area.
Editor-in-chief Dylan Skriloff explained it this way:
The Rockland County Times shares in the community’s frustration with the tactics of the Journal News, particularly the seeming attempt to draw a moral link between law abiding gun owners and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The only remedy for this is for the editorial board of the Journal News as well as executives at Gannet to receive a taste of their own medicine.
We are publishing the home addresses of Journal News editors, publishers and the Gannet CEO to make a point; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We wish no ill will upon them.
The list includes Journal News editors, as well as the reporter who wrote the story; the database included the names and addresses of gun owners. Other bloggers have taken it upon themselves to publicize the journalists’ private information, including phone numbers, Facebook and Twitter accounts and pictures of their families.
That didn’t go far enough for one commenter on the Times story, who suggested, “List their spouse and children information. Where do they work or attend school.”
The Journal News story did little to justify to publication of the information, as Al Tompkins at Poynter writes: “The problem is not that the Gannett-owned Journal News was too aggressive. The problem is that the paper was not aggressive enough in its reporting to justify invading the privacy of people who legally own handguns in two counties it serves. … Timeliness is not reason enough to publish this information, though there are important reasons — including public safety — that journalists regularly invade people’s privacy.”
But the Times goes beyond the pale, delighting Internet residents who are quick to criticize the “Liberal/Socialist main stream media,” as one commenter wrote. While the Times wishes no ill will upon the journalists, will Skriloff take responsibility should something happen to these people?