There is no rule more sancrosanct to a real journalist than this: protect your source.
That means the journalist goes to jail rather than to reveal the source. Exposing the source is as grave a sin as you can imagine, because at the end journalism depends on whistleblowers and inside sources to expose what needs to be exposed.
Regardless of what you think of a source - you might think the source is an odd smelly screwball that should be rotting in prison - you can not expose him or her.
So, to do this...
In that picture, there were GPS tags that let the authorities track down McAfee.Computer security millionaire John McAfee’s surreal flight from Belizean law enforcement came to an end this week when he was detained (and then hospitalized) in Guatemala, as has been widely reported. A piece of the story that hasn’t been included in much of the reporting is how authorities figured out that McAfee — who was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his neighbor — had fled Belize for Guatemala. McAfee’s location was exposed after he agreed to let two reporters from Vice Magazine tag along with him. Proud to finally be in the thick of a story rife with vices — drugs, murder, prostitutes, guns, vicious dogs, a fugitive millionaire and his inappropriately young girlfriend — they proudly posted an iPhone photo to their blog of Vice editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro standing with the source of the mayhem in front of a jungly background, saying, “We are with John McAfee right now, suckers.”
This might sound good and well for everyone. Good that a criminal was caught, and now he can get his day in court. But professionally, what those journalists did was inexcusable.
And it actually harms everyone. What remains of serious journalism, and serious watch-dogging, demands that journalists don't do stupid shit like this that expose their sources.
Sometimes I'm glad I'm not in the business any more. This is not the business that the 18 year old me slid into on a banana peel. My old editor would be spinning in his grave if he knew.