Philip Di Salvo

The hacker turn in journalism

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Hackers are becoming active players in the journalistic field. This is visible on different levels and their cooperation with journalists is at the core of different innovation processes and the adoption of new technologies. This article will look at the relationships between hackers and journalists in regards of information security practices and the adoption of secure communication tools based on strong encryption. In the context of whistleblowing and leaks, journalists are increasingly using encryption to secure communication with their own sources, thus adopting de facto hacker practices in order to perform one of the most important ethical milestone of journalism: source protection. This article will offer an overview of these phenomena occurring in the journalistic field, connecting them with some of the most debated theoretical frameworks of journalism studies, such as Bourdieu’s «Field theory» and Gieryn’s «Boundary work».


  • Journalism
  • Hacking
  • Encryption
  • Surveillance
  • Whistleblowing


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