Articles about "Shield laws"


Colorado legislators refuse to strengthen legal protections for journalists

Associated Press | Fox News
A Colorado state senate committee Monday rejected Sen. Bernie Herpin's proposed changes to Colorado's shield law. Herpin drafted the changes in response to the story of Fox News reporter Jana Winter, who a New York court ruled didn't have to testify in the trial of accused theater shooter James Holmes.

Herpin's bill would have set a higher bar for courts to subpoena journalists. Three Democrats voted against the bill and two Republicans voted for it, AP's Ivan Moreno reports.
Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman, who voted against the bill, said Monday that she needed to weigh the interests of the courts in some cases to get information from journalists, as well as the need to have a free press. "It's been a very difficult one for me," she said.
Previously: Citing Jana Winter, Colo. lawmaker proposes strengthening state’s shield law | Jana Winter: The ‘public also suffered’ from subpoena
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Jana Winter: The ‘public also suffered’ from subpoena

Fox News
In written testimony supporting changes to Colorado's reporter's shield law, Fox News reporter Jana Winter says being subpoenaed by Colorado theater-shooting suspect James Holmes was "a nightmare." But "the public also suffered," she writes. (more...)
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Citing Jana Winter, Colo. lawmaker proposes strengthening state’s shield law

Fox News
Colo. state Sen. Bernie Herpin has proposed changes to Colorado's reporter's shield law, citing the case of Fox News reporter Jana Winter. New York's highest court ruled in December that Winter didn't have to travel to Colorado to testify in the trial of James Holmes, who is accused of carrying out the mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater.

“If you are going to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment like I am, you have to be a strong supporter of the First Amendment -- especially when it comes to the press,” Herpin told Fox. “They act as a watchdog for the people. And if confidential sources are worried about being named, they aren’t going to come forward.”
Winter in Centennial, Colo., in April 2013 (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
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Workers with American Fence remove the fence from around the Century theater in Aurora, Colo., on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Fox reporter Jana Winter doesn’t have to testify in Colorado

New York State Court of Appeals
There exists "no principle more fundamental or well-established than the right of a reporter to refuse to divulge a confidential source," New York's State Court of Appeals said in an decision Tuesday. The 4-3 decision means Fox News reporter Jana Winter will not have to travel to Colorado to testify in James Holmes' murder trial.

"We therefore conclude that an order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy -- a common law, statutory and constitutional tradition that has played a significant role in this State becoming the media capital of the country if not the world," Judge Victoria A. Graffeo wrote in the majority opinion. (more...)
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N.Y. court to consider whether Fox News reporter should testify in Colorado

Times Union | Associated Press | Business Insider
The New York State Court of Appeals will take up the case of Fox News reporter Jana Winter Tuesday afternoon. At issue is whether Winter, who covered the theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., should be compelled to give up her source of a notebook from accused shooter James Holmes. Holmes' attorneys want Winter to travel to Colorado to testify; she will go to jail rather than do so, one of her attorneys tells Robert Gavin of the (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union.

A New York appellate court this summer upheld a subpoena for Winter that another New York judge signed earlier this year. (more...)
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Press membership card (Depositphotos)

Study attempts to define journalists — should we define acts of journalism instead?

PBS MediaShift | Free Press Media lawyer and University of Dayton assistant professor Jonathan Peters and Edson C. Tandoc Jr., of the Missouri School of Journalism tried to answer the question "Who is a journalist?" through a new study. The two "culled a variety of sources that conceptualize a journalist, and they analyzed each one to identify its elements." In the study (which you can read here), the authors write they "do not offer a normative definition, but we do offer normative comments on the descriptive definition." Such a description is timely, they write, as the U.S. considers a reporter's shield law. They consulted three "domains" -- academic, legal, industry -- for commonalities in definitions of journalism, among them federal laws about professions, state shield laws and the criteria of journalism organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists and the Regional Reporters Association. Most centered around activities, output and what they call the "social role" of journalists (e.g., being a watchdog). Here's the definition they came up with: (more...)
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Patch reporter ordered to reveal source or face jail, fines

Chicago Sun-Times
Patch reporter Joseph Hosey must give up the source of police reports about a grisly murder he covered or face jail, Will County Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney ruled Friday.

SouthtownStar/Sun-Times reporter Casey Toner reported on Twitter that one of the attorneys pressing for this ruling told the court "he didn't think 'any legitimate journalist should fear the outcome of this.'" (more...)
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Patch will appeal judge’s order to turn over confidential source

Joliet Patch | Chicago Sun-Times
Patch editor Joseph Hosey won't reveal who gave him police reports about a gruesome murder in Joliet, Ill., Hosey's lawyer Ken Schmetterer told a judge in Will County, Ill., Tuesday.

Judge Gerald Kinney on Aug. 30 ordered Hosey to give his source up. Hosey and Patch Media plan to appeal the order, Dennis Robaugh reports.

"Some experts, including media lawyers, said Hosey most likely would not be jailed after being found in contempt of court," Becky Schlikerman writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. "Rather, it’s a procedural motion to give the appellate court jurisdiction." (more...)
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Senators can’t agree on who’s a journalist

McClatchy
U.S. Senators "couldn’t agree on the definition of 'journalist'" during a hearing on a proposed shield law Thursday, Kate Irby reports. That could muddle the prospects of such legislation.
The bill defines a journalist as a person who has a "primary intent to investigate events and procure material" in order to inform the public by regularly gathering information through interviews and observations. The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news. But senators disagreed on how to define journalists, since some thought the bill’s definition wasn’t specific enough.
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Jana Winter’s lawyer asks judge to quash Colorado subpoena

Reuters | Fox News
A Colorado court's subpoena for Fox News reporter Jana Winter should "be invalidated as a matter of public policy," Joseph Ax reports Winter's lawyer Christopher Handman argued Wednesday.

A five-judge panel in New York is hearing "whether a Manhattan judge erred when he signed off on an out-of-state subpoena requiring Winter to appear in a Colorado courtroom in the first place," Ax writes.

Attorneys for accused Colorado theater shooter James Holmes want to compel Winter to give up the law enforcement source who told her Holmes sent a disturbing notebook to a University of Chicago psychiatrist. (more...)
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