When to Use Hidden Cameras

While hidden cameras are an important journalistic tool, they are usually a last resort for an investigative team. They can capture behavior or situations that may otherwise be concealed in the presence of a visible camera.

NBC 4 New York investigative reporter Chris Glorioso shares in the above video how his station’s I-Team works with attorneys to determine how to follow the highest journalistic standards when working on stories that require a hidden camera. Most of the time, journalists can openly record video on a camera or cellphone, but it may impact newsgathering for certain investigative stories.

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“One of the first questions that we’re asked by our attorneys and our journalistic standards managers is ‘Why can’t you just bring your phone in?’ And usually, that’s good enough,” Glorioso said. “I use the phone a lot more than I use a hidden camera…. We really only use them when there would be no way to bring a professional camera and not change everybody’s behavior.” 

A very hidden camera

Chris Glorioso shared video of one of NBC 4 New York’s hidden cameras… which can be worn as glasses!

Check out “Investigative Reporting 101,” our other video with the NBC 4 New York I-Team.