1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Balco leak uncovered

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by pressboxer, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Day one, journalism law class. You probably can still register.
  2. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    a confidential source is only protected by the reporter(s) he gave info to. not all reporters. why should your or i protect the chronicle's source - that's nonsensical.
  3. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    They didn't investigate better than the government — they got someone to show them what the government had already dug up. If they had investigated better than the government, they wouldn't be in any trouble at all. If they had gotten Bonds to testify to them in person, they could use his quotes without having to go through a source. Without the government's evidence, they don't have a story.

    That all said, I don't have a problem with what they did. I think it was great, but I also think they knew what they were getting into when they did it. They knew it could very well come to this. If I ever had the chance, I hope I'd have the courage to print a story that I'd deem important enough to risk going to jail for. Apparently these guys considered this worth that risk, and they took it. I don't know what I would have done.

    Really, I understand what you're saying about the free press, but doesn't ignoring the leak run the risk of compromising the integrity of these testimonies in the future? If people know there's no repercussion for these being leaked, then people will leak them more often. If people leak them more often, then people won't testify or there wouldn't be a reason to assume their testimony is accurate. Why is that outcome better than damaging the free press?

    And does it really destroy the free press? It makes publishing such a story gutsy, and the going to jail parts really sucks, but it's not like the government gathered up and burned the books. They aren't going to shoot the reporters. The government didn't alter the facts to cover anything up ... the info is all out there.

    Basically, I realize it's a really complicated issue, and I'm sure the people actually involved know that. Blindly saying "the journalists are right, the government is wrong" is ignoring that complexity. I think a lot of people are writing off the damage that could be done by letting the guys off.
  4. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    I understand where you are coming from, because I thought the same thing when I first read the yahoo story. Right now, that report hasn't exactly caught fire, but when it does -- and it will -- more people are going to say, "I trust you not to reveal my name, but what about someone else out there who decides to find me?"

    However, Ragu has the correct argument here. Because Williams and Fainaru-Wada have been convicted and face jail time, the identity of the their source is news. (In fact, I wonder if there was motivation to undercover the source to help the two reporters avoid prison. Just a thought that crossed my mind.)

    Woodward and Bernstein refused to give up Mark Felt for more than 30 years, even though other media guessed/speculated all the time. In a situation as newsworthy as this one, I can't fault others for chasing the story.
  5. jaredk

    jaredk Member

    You keep saying "people won't testify." Hey, people don't have a choice. Subpoeaned, you testify. If you want no one to know what you know, you invoke the Fifth Amendment. Anyway, if you're a key witness in a case that's going to trial, your testimony inevitably becomes public information. You do know, I hope, that in our legal system there's no "secret" testimony that convicts people -- unless you're our sorry president deciding which "terrorists" go to which jails in which country.
  6. I think people are missing the "why" part of this. Confidential sources aren't typically investigated by other news organizations (other than trying to figure it out for their own internal purposes). This confidential source was investigated because he did something illegal - leaked grand jury testimony. I don't think Yahoo or anyone else is going to invest good time trying to track down sources unless they are newsworthy....which they often aren't.
  7. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    Because it's not in our best interest to have people afraid of serving as confidential sources.
  8. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    If someone offers to serve as a confidential source and doesn't keep that confidentiality himself, why should that be held against the journalists?

    The Chronicle guys honored their promise. The source, according to the Yahoo story, told his colleague about leaking the documents and the colleague ultimately outed him, on the record. If the source had kept his mouth shut, no worries, and no chilling effect on future dealings with confidential sources.
  9. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    You're very good at sarcasm and general nastiness, but apparently you have trouble answering questions so I'll try once more: What laws did they break to get that info?
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    You might find a timetable online for classes in your area.
  11. You haven't answered the question, dicksnort, because you can't: The reporters broke no laws. The source obviously did, but not the reporters. But we get it, you hate the media even though you used to be a member of it, ya ya ya.
  12. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    And you give up the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment, which covers self-incrimination, when the prosecution grants you immunity, as it did to Bonds and others in the BALCO case. Bonds is not accused of any crimes he testified to before the grand jury. He is accused of giving false testimony.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page