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NYT Reporter Subpoenaed For Notes.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fenian_Bastard, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/washington/01inquire.html?_r=3&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
  2. BRoth

    BRoth Member

    Well, I'm just shocked.
  3. I've been subpoenaed twice and my paper's attorneys got both quashed. Of course mine were about stupid stuff (including a weather story - no lie), not the CIA ...
  4. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I pity the poor person who would try to order me to give up my notes. Good luck reading them buddy, half the time i can't figure out what all the scribble is supposed to say.
  5. jakewriter82

    jakewriter82 Active Member

    I've never understood subpoenaing a reporter for their notes or extra footage. I'd be willing to say 90 percent of the time they're inconsequential. It's a reporter's job to put the most crucial elements of a story in the article. Why the government or other people with subpoena power think reporters hide things in their notes that wasn't in the story need to get a clue, IMHO.
    Is there something to this I'm just not aware of?
  6. That will impress the jury.
  7. Yes. You're missing the most obvious part: Names. Government officials want to know who gave you the information. Look at the whole Judith Miller, Scooter Libby fiasco. They wanted to know who leaked the CIA woman's name.

    My cases were different, though.
    In one of my cases, Attorney A wanted me to testify against Attorney B, who was representing someone in a civil case. Attorney B gave me a fake story explaining away what his client had done and then changed the story when it no longer fit his defense. Attorney A wanted me to appear in court and basically call Attorney B a liar. Even though I was right, I wasn't looking forward to that exchange at all. No one wants to have their credibility challenged in court. Ever.

    Luckily, Attorney B fessed up and they settled out of court. phew.
  8. FreddiePatek

    FreddiePatek Active Member

    I think most newspaper lawyers make it a point to tell reporters to trash their notes and erase the recordings as soon as the story runs, no?
  9. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    The NYT's lawyers do. When I was working for one of the NYT's regional papers, the company lawyers would stop in once every year or two for what they called a ``libel seminar,'' showing us things to do and not to do to avoid getting sued or subpoenaed. One of the first things they told us was to destroy all our notes as soon as we were done with a story.
  10. I've been told, albeit tacitly, to get rid of my notes within a few days of the story. My previous newspaper required us to keep our notes for 18 months. I prefer the latter.
  11. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Our newspaper tries to tell us not to use tape recorders and the news writers get in trouble if they do. I generally handwrite my notes so it is no big deal, but if I am doing a long feature there is no way I'm not using a tape recorder.
  12. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

    Our policy is to destroy all our notes. And all our notes get destroyed, even if they don't get destroyed. If you catch my drift.
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