One Step you Can’t Miss

Would you tell your sources? Journalist and ethics comes hand and hand in this business now. I believe ethics is one step you can not miss in this game.

The Vanessa Leggett case is on of the most talked about cases invovling revealing sources. Leggett spent 168 days in jail for not revealing her sources. She got off on the simply fact of the freedom of speech and press.

The Jana Winter case started back in Colorado with the infamous Batman movie massacre back in the summer of 2012. Winter wrote a story exclusively for that included information about a notebook that the accused murderer James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist in the days before the shooting. Holmes lawyer claimed that the sources violated a gag order and may have undermined his right to a fair trail. But Winter’s lawyers have argued the Colorado shield law and of course the first amendment protected her from having too reveal her sources. In recent news the judge claims that it is still too early to decide on the matter. And the judge has yet to rule the notebook evidence for the case.

This case of revealing sources is becoming more and more of a problem for journalist. There are issues on both sides of the problem that make many consider the facts when making an ethical decision. On the side of the journalist, it is in their favor for the freedom of press. If the journalist has a source and maybe cannot tell because of an expressed promised or maybe it was off the record, the journalist has the right to keep that promise he or she gave that person. In the case of Judith Miller, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, was sent to jail in 2005 for not revealing her sources. Miller felt like in good conscience she could not reveal her sources because of the promise she gave the source. The judge declared that she was defying the law by refusing to divulge the name of the confidential source. With this example it also explains the other side of the matter. Cases like this have found the journalist guilty and judges like in the Miller case send them to jail. The judge sent Miller to a suitable jail and could not leave until she revealed her sources.

Would I reveal my sources as a journalist? No and yes I think it depends on the situation. For Winter’s case, I would not tell my sources because there was an expressed promise. As journalist you have to remember it’s not all about writing you have to know the rules and have the ethics skills to win the game.


Posted on July 29, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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