21 March, 2014

Saved by the Shield : Columbia Journalism Review

Saved by the Shield : Columbia Journalism Review: Ten years ago this month began a period of my life that I have come to call my season in hell. It was a prolonged horror of court hearings and depositions following the collapse of The Cincinnati Enquirer’s investigation of Chiquita Brands International. But like all calamities, it delivered unexpected insights. One of the most important for me was a fierce love of shield laws. To all journalists everywhere: you should love them too. These laws are fundamental to what we do. We should be fighting to get a federal shield law passed. So should every citizen who suspects that powerful institutions in our society regularly hide vital information from the public. After years of an uneasy truce between prosecutors and media organizations, federal officials have increasingly been dragging reporters to court and pressing them to reveal confidential sources. It is time to push back.