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Reporter shield laws and the Aurora movie theater shooting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rosie, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    I'd like for you, if you have distaste for Fox News, to set that aside for a moment. And keep all gun debate discussion to yourself.

    This is about reporter shield laws and revealing confidential sources.

    There's the possibility that a Fox News reporter, Jana Winter, may be ordered by a judge to reveal her source regarding a notebook containing details about Aurora gunman James Holmes alleged intent to kill people. If she is ordered and does not reveal her source, she could face jail time.

    This wasn't something I thought much about as a sports reporter, but now that I'm in news on a crime beat, yeah. I think about this a lot. I have my confidential sources and I fiercely protect their identities. In the past, I've been asked about recordings related to stories I've covered and I have fallen back on my state's shield law.

    Holmes' defense claims he cannot have a fair trial if Winter does not reveal her confidential source about the notebook.


  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Her employment by FoxNews is the reason why she isn't already a cause célèbre, so how do you leave that out of the conversation?
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Seems like a weird, convoluted case. It'd be a shame if she had to make a choice.

    In reading several Fox News stories, I can say that I wish some other news organization would cover this. Fox doesn't appear to employ writers with great brevity or clarity.
  4. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Well . . .

    She hasn't been asked by the (new) judge to reveal anything yet, has she?

    The defense wants her to reveal her source because it says she violated a gag order. The court hasn't ruled yet whether she'll have to or not.

    Fox News is wringing a lot of (self-congratulatory) coverage out of this, but much nothing has actually happened.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    That said, if she is ordered Wednesday to name her source or go to jail and chooses jail, she'll get the same amicus help from the NYT and the WaPo and the ACLU and a score of other organizations that any reporter gets.
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