Local newspapers look for stories that will bring them national attention, but The Journal News north of New York City may have got more than it bargained for when it published the names and addresses of 33,614 handgun permit holders in two suburban counties, Westchester and Rockland, and put maps of their locations online, the New York Times ports. The maps got more than one million web views. The article left gun owners feeling vulnerable to harassment or break-ins and also drew national outrage.
Calls and e-mails grew so threatening that the paper’s president and publisher, Janet Hasson, hired armed guards to monitor the newspaper’s headquarters in White Plains and its bureau in West Nyack, N.Y. Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder (which turned out to be harmless) were sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter’s home. “As journalists, we are prepared for criticism,” said Hasson. “But in the U.S., journalists should not be threatened.”