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How to Leak Stories to The Marshall Project

Your guide to becoming a source

In order to hold our government agencies and officials accountable, investigative news organizations like The Marshall Project depend on courageous people to share information. To tell stories that need to be told about failure, corruption and wrongdoing, we need people who work in or with criminal justice agencies — or who did before a transition between administrations — to be our guides. And we'll go to every possible length to protect the identities of people who want to share ideas, documents and data with us in confidence.

To help those who have criminal justice stories for us, we’ve put together this short guide on who to contact in our newsroom and the best ways to reach them, particularly if you want to keep your fingerprints off of a story.

Who covers what

You might want to start by perusing our staff list. Our reporters and editors are not assigned to specific beats, but many of them have come to specialize in certain criminal justice topics. One thing to keep in mind is that we are journalists, not lawyers. We are not able to investigate innocence claims in individual cases.

If you have information you want to share about an area of criminal justice not listed here, you can email our editors at pitches@themarshallproject.org.

What not to do

If you want to minimize — if not avoid entirely — any visible links between yourself and The Marshall Project, The Intercept offers some good, albeit technical, advice on becoming a whistleblower.

Don’t visit our website at work. Don’t subscribe to our daily newsletter with your work email account. Don’t tell anyone about your plans, and don’t use your work phone or email to contact us.

Protect your email

All of our staff members use a technology called PGP (for “Pretty Good Privacy”) to encrypt the contents of our email. This can prevent an outside observer, such as a snooping government agency, from reading what you write to us. If you’re comfortable enough with computers to set up PGP on your machine, you can find each of our staffer’s public keys on his or her bio page.

PGP is good for hiding what you write, but it does not obscure the fact that you’re sending something to us, the subject line of the email or the time it is sent — often referred to as “metadata.” If you suspect someone may monitor your email activity, such as your employer, this could be a cause for concern.

Send us tips anonymously.

If you really want to be anonymous when you contact us, the U.S. mail is a good way to go. Our colleagues at ProPublica offer this advice:

“U.S. postal mail without a return address is one of the most secure ways to communicate — authorities would need a warrant to intercept and open it in transit. Don’t use your company or agency mailroom to send something to us. Mail your package or envelope from an unfamiliar sidewalk box instead of going to a post office. You can mail us paper materials or digital files on, for example, a thumb drive.”

Our mailing address at The Marshall Project is:

      The Marshall Project
      156 West 56th St., Suite 701
      New York, N.Y. 10019

One thing to remember if you want us to pursue your story is that we will need to be able to contact you to verify what you’ve sent us. If you send us something in the mail, please include (inside the envelope) the manner in which you’d like us to reach you.