Court: Iowa college has no right to sources

IOWA ‘ The state supreme court sided with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier in June, saying the newspaper’s editors did not have to release the names of confidential sources.

The Courier is suing Hawkeye Community College for open-meetings violations involving the termination of President William Hierstein. The college wanted the newspaper’s editors to turn over notes from interviews with confidential sources. The college said the sources should not have spoken with the paper.

A trial court judge ruled the paper must allow him to look over the notes to decide their relevance to the case. The Courier appealed the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, citing reporter’s privilege.

The supreme court vacated the lower court’s decision and said the college did not prove the disputed material to be critical to its defense or that it was unavailable from another unprivileged source.

The supreme court decision allows the newspaper to pursue its original case in trial court.

case: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier v. Hawkeye Community College, 646 N.W.2d 97 (Iowa 2002)