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Important...Please read if you're a journalist...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jason_whitlock, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    My ultragood suggestion would be for people in the field to know the law.
  2. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Dyepack, just because something is the law doesn't mean it's right. Right and wrong, moral and immoral and legal and illegal don't always go hand in hand.

    Consider what the Chron guys did as a form of civil disobedience. They disobeyed the law to serve the greater good of a hell of a lot of people. If you don't want to support them, that is certainly your right, but there's a reason the First Amendment was first.
  3. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    If you think the First Amendment was created so people could leak sealed grand jury testimony, then you need to go back to Civics class.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    The what wire?
  5. did they truly serve a greater good?

    i'm going to support them because i would do the same thing... but i'm not sure they served some greater good...
  6. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I'm not saying it's a good thing that grand jury testimony was leaked. That's a bit disconcerting for anyone who faces one and hopes to have due process and a fair trial, but the Chron guys didn't leak it. Someone else, someone within the government, leaked it or allowed it to be leaked. The Chron guys came across this information and reported it. It's not like they broke into wherever the records are kept and pilfered it. They face jail not for reporting what was said in the testimony, but for not giving up the source. That's a huge difference.

    They were doing their jobs, reporting something that benefits society at the risk of getting into trouble themselves. Someone else fucked up, either intentionally or unintentionally, and didn't do theirs.
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if being there is the answer for the vast journalism community...writing about it from wherever you are seems like the most powerful way to show support.

    If someone really wanted to make a statement, they'd run a blank front page with only the words IN CONTEMPT.
  8. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member


    That's a good point. Perhaps they haven't. But maybe one day it will help actually clean up sports. I'm way too cynical to think it actually will help, but it would certainly be nice if it did.

    It certainly didn't serve the greater good by keeping Barry Bonds in the headlines so much. I truly wish he would just limp away. But that's a different topic.
  9. I think writing about it is a very good idea, but I do have to ask if there's going to be a "wear a color" thing please don't pick orange. I cover Alabama football and if I wear orange around Tuscaloosa there could be an "accident" involving a large number of guns.
  10. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    All due respect to Mr. Whitlock and Mr. Telander here, and setting aside for the moment a simple show of collegial support, I'm not sure what we'd be protesting if such were to occur.

    If we're given material illegally obtained (like leaked grand jury testimony), and use it in a story, we're liable to be hauled into court and asked to reveal our source. If we choose not to comply, we face jail time for contempt. Thereafter, either we relent, or the judge does.

    I've always understood this to be the case and have used leaked documentation in several stories, fully aware in each case of the risk I faced. In each instance I've been briefed by the legal department as to my options. I'm sure the fellas from the Chronicle were as well.

    I'm curious as to why this particular case has raised such a hue and cry on the board. Is it simply because this is a sports story? Where was all this journalistic solidarity when Judy Miller got locked up? Because, whether you liked her reporting or not, she went to jail for the same thing.

    As a member of PEN America, I spend a lot of my free time trying to get writers and poets and journalists out of prisons in places like Iran and Turkey and Uzbekistan. Most of them have been jailed as enemies of the state or purveyors of dangerous ideas (like freedom of the press) or for no reason at all - in some cases for decades. I hardly think that this case rises to that level of systematized repression.

    Just because it's sports journalism doesn't mean that it's not still journalism, with all the risks and responsibilities that the practice entails. We have no special exemption. And I'd hate to think that the political consciousness of some of our best and our brightest can only be brought into focus if someone in the story carries a bat or a ball.
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    if you truly feel that way, then, go back to the PEN boards and continue posting like a sonuvabitch.
  12. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    It's not illegal to possess the material. In this case, it was not obtained illegally, ie, the reporters are not being charged with doing anything illegal to obtain it.

    No one is making the distinction between this as a sports story versus any other news story, or asking for special exemption. Quite the opposite, in fact. And to compare this situation to that of the reporters being held captive around the world seems somewhat condescending to the Chronicle reporters who are facing jail time IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY, where we DO espouse freedom of the press.

    Perhaps I missed your meaning, but jail is jail, regardless of the location or the quality of the lockup.
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