First off, I find it important to emphasize just how fascinating an event this is: to the opinion of many, this is the first time in modern journalism history that an established paper has gone to pains to unmask a confidential source, flying in the face of the respected and traditional practice of fighting as hard as possible to preserve the anonymity of sources–especially those that report from the front lines of civil life, as was the case with NightJack, the audacious cop with a taste for laying bare that which others were intent on covering up.
What could have motivated The Times of London to dispense with this provocative though surely enlightening blogger (that is effectively what they did, as since they outed the man behind the blog NightJack has been no more)? It would seem that the benefits of unmasking an officer with a penchant for embarrassing his superiors (is that really a sin?) have been more than outweighed by the resulting exodus of potentially insightful sources from the blogosphere, now and in the future.
In Britain as in most of the world, it would appear that popular sentiment is coming down on the side of the winner of the Orwell Prize for Blogging, not at all due to sympathies towards his person but rather because most people value morality over legality; and, as is widely circulating at the moment, the Times’ actions were doubtlessly legal in nature, but equally indubitably reprehensible from a moral perspective.
What will come next in the surprisingly thrilling world of blogs? Stay tuned…