Beware of Document Leaks

The Story

The Wall Street Journal has created a website, SafeHouse, to solicit documents and databases. Billed as a way for the public to help the WSJ "uncover fraud, abuse, and other wrongdoing," the publisher is taking a WikiLeaks-like strategy to attract whistleblowers. Leaked documents make good news stories -- and create big headaches for corporate communicators.

Source: - Wall Street Journal Opens A Wikileaks Type Site Video

Discussion Starters

  • What do you see as the potential impact of SafeHouse (and other newspapers getting into the game) on corporations?
  • How would you advise managers to avoid sensitive communications from getting leaked?
  • If you uncovered wrongdoing at work, what avenues would you take to report the issue? What resources may be available within your company? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using these internal channels first?

Assignment Ideas

  • Go to the SafeHouse website. How easy is it to upload information?
  • On the new website, how are users assured anonymity? Explore the website to see the extent to which whistleblowers are protected. 
  • Imagine that you were the chief legal officer of a major company. Write an email to all employees to reinforce your communications policy. Using guidelines in Chapter 1 of the text, how can you remind people to protect their email and other communications?