Former Northwestern student journalist wins significant reporter’s privilege victory

A former student journalist at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism does not have to reveal documents or give testimony about her investigative reporting that helped free a wrongfully convicted man from prison, a federal judge has ruled.The ruling in favor of Carolyn Nielsen -- who now teaches journalism at Western Washington University in Bellingham -- is significant because it recognizes no distinction between the ability of a student journalist versus a professional journalist to claim the protection of the reporter's privilege.The case involves a lawsuit by Thaddeus Jimenez, who was freed from prison in May 2009 -- after serving 16 years of a 45-year sentence -- with the help of a Northwestern University legal clinic and evidence gathered by Nielsen in her reporting.

Virginia AG: No First Amendment concern in police raid of JMU Breeze newsroom

After being shown support from local and national news outlets in the form of extensive coverage and editorials, The Breeze newspaper at James Madison University learned Friday that it does not have the support of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.The Breeze website quotes Cuccinelli’s statement, saying he fully supports Rockingham Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst’s actions on April 16, when she, along with several Harrisonburg Police officers, executed a search warrant in the newsroom of the Breeze.“I support any and all legal means to gather information to build a case against people who allegedly harmed or intended to harm law enforcement officers,” Cuccinelli said, according to the Breeze website.The search warrant was for pictures the Breeze had of a recent riot near the JMU campus.

Defense lawyers’ revised strategy may moot subpoena for Medill student journalists’ records

The showdown over state prosecutors' demands for the news-gathering materials of Northwestern University student journalists may be resolved without confronting the core issue of the students' entitlement to protection under the Illinois reporter shield law.Lawyers for Anthony McKinney, whose conviction in the 1978 shooting death of a Chicago security guard was the subject of the student journalists' investigation, have decided not to rely on three witnesses whose testimony is central to prosecutors' subpoena to the Medill Innocence Project.The Project is part of Northwestern's journalism school, and students enrolled in Prof.

Illinois prosecutors’ subpoena to student journalists smacks of harassment

It is hard to know where to start in describing what is wrong with the Cook County, Illinois, district attorney’s attempt to compel disclosure of student records underlying investigative journalistic work by students at Northwestern University.The dispute between Northwestern’s Innocence Project and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez was well-explored in a recent New York Times article, reflecting the national attention that the case is properly receiving.It is of course troubling that the government is arguing, wrongly, that the journalism students investigating the murder case against Anthony McKinney are not “real” journalists protected by Illinois’ shield law.The purpose of shield laws is to protect the integrity of the newsgathering process.