Full, unedited interview with BYU professor on ethics of MormonLeaks
In full disclosure, you can also listen to BYU Associate Journalism Professor, Joel Campbell. His interview was done prior to our interviews with Ryan McKnight and Ethan Dodge of Mormon Leaks. Campbell is an active member of the LDS Church, currently teaches at BYU and was a former LDS Bishop.
Campbell in his interview talked about his stance on the "leakers" in government and private institutions, "I am the last person to shut down "leakers" or information. I have been known in my career as a freedom of information guy, I fought for open records in this state, so I’m the last person to shut them down. I just want them to do their job ethically."
While Campbell supports the idea of promoting transparency, he also believes journalists should weigh transparency "with doing no harm."
While doctors take an oath "to do no harm" journalists he says do not. In the past, journalist guidebooks asked journalists to "mitigate harm" though that is no longer a current standard in modern journalism.
Campbell believes that MormonLeaks should be held to the standards of professional journalists stating "if they claim they are journalists they claim they are doing first amendment work." He asks, "then how does that square with what i know as journalism?" He refers to the Society of Professional Journalists SPJ Code of Ethics found here: https://www.spj.org/ethicscode
It is important to note that MormonLeaks releases information under the banner of journalism but don't profess to be journalists but an organization that provides information to be used by journalists. The founders of MormonLeaks call themselves curators of documents. McKnight and Dodge who run the site do not comment on the documents, but release them to the public who can them decide what importance to give them.
In the full interivew you will hear Campbell discuss the most recent MormonLeaks release pertaining to a woman who claims she was raped by the President of the LDS Church Missionary Training Center in the 80's while she was a young missionary under his care. Campbell tells 2 News he believes harm was done in releasing her tapes without her permission. Whether they were released with or without her permission we don't know. We do know that she held a press conference jointly with MormonLeaks founder Ryan McKnight claiming to have recorder the tapes, the release and her intent to sue the LDS Church.
Campbell also mentions a lawsuit filed by the LDS Church against MormonLeaks. MormonLeaks claims they have never been sued. They do claim to have received why they can an informal letter to "cease and desist" releasing internal documents belonging to the LDS church. MormonLeaks defense to continue is the act of releasing documents as "journalists."
Campbell talks emphatically about coverage of the recent MTC rape allegations saying that he does not believe the story story rose to the level of a front page or lead story. He references local media outlets including the Salt Lake Tribune and presumably KUTV.
He says of the stories "we have one instance ( from) 1984 and the Salt Lake Tribune splashes it across the front page headline." He asks? "Is that the same as some of the Weinstein or #Metoo movement" Was the context fair?" He ads, "I’m just not sure it rises to the same level as the #Metoo movements revealed recently."
Ultimately Campbell agrees that Mormonleaks has been "helpful to the dialogue." He discussed the issue with a class at BYU he teaches and said, "I don’t think my LDS students are ready to shut them down but want a little more accountability."
Looking to the future he believes "all large organizations are going to have to learn to deal with this" referencing the internet age. You can Listen to his full interview here: