We’re not going undercover here. And if you’re not using an external microphone a digital recorder is pretty easy to overlook. So, be transparent. Act like a pro. Get permission from the owner of a business before recording. Tell them what you’re up to. Hey, they may even have suggestions on good natural sound for you. If you’re in a public place hold up your recorder so people walking by take note. If someone asks you what you’re doing explain.
Erika — I think it was Erika — pointed out that Washington is a two-party consent state. That is, you can’t record a telephone conversation or any conversation without the consent of all parties. Thank you Erika for reminding us of this. For more information read this.
Also, here’s what the BBC has to say about people’s expectation of privacy.
“We should operate openly wherever we are unless we have approval for secret recording. This is particularly important when our audio-visual equipment is not very obvious as in the case of small video cameras, mobile phone cameras or fixed webcams. ”
And the BBC on recording on private property.
“We normally obtain consent before recording on private property. However, recording without prior permission may be justified in places where the public has general access, for example, a shopping mall, railway station or airport, or where we have reason to believe illegal or anti-social behaviour is being exposed.”
Am linking to the BBC’s editorial guidelines over to the right, under “ethics.”
Also, NPR’s News Code of Ethics posted under “ethics.”
And one thing I forgot to mention: Kids. Kids make good audio. But kids are kids. You MUST get permission from parents if you’re going to record/interview/photograph kids. If you decide to pursue kids talk to their parents and get their contact information and bring that to me. Also, you’re always free to give anyone you report/run into my contact information. Or send them to this blog. And remember, if someone asks “Is this going to be published?” say “Yes.”