Q: Are student journalists allowed to claim reporter’s privilege to protect the identity of their sources? A: State reporter’s privilege laws allow journalists to withhold confidential newsgathering materials from the parties in a criminal investigation or a civil lawsuit. In most states, the shield applies to anyone who regularly gathers and distributes news to the public… Continue reading Can student journalists claim reporter’s privilege?
Most journalists avoid using anonymous sources, with many schools discouraging it in nearly all situations. But student journalists often find that the only way to attack controversial or sensitive — but significant — issues in schools, is to turn to anonymous sources.
Urged on by the state attorney general, a Hawaii Senate committee is proposing to drastically narrow the state's 2008 reporter shield statute, putting the ability of student journalists to protect confidential sources at risk.In amendments approved Wednesday, a Senate committee pared back the scope of the reporter's privilege so that it would benefit only journalists "professionally associated" with traditional news organizations.The current Hawaii statute enables two classes of people to protect their unpublished material and the identity of their sources if confronted with a demand in connection with a legal proceeding:(1) "[A] journalist or newscaster presently or previously employed by or otherwise professionally associated with any newspaper or magazine or any digital versiona thereof."(2) A person who can demonstrate by "clear and convincing evidence" that he or she "has regularly and materially participated in the reporting or publishing of news or information of substantial public interest for the purpose of dissemination to the general public" or that he or she occupies a position "materially similar or identical to that of a journalist or newscaster."It's that second class of protected people that Attorney General David M.
A panel of journalists, editors and media lawyers urged members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on July 20 to pass the Free Flow of Information Act, introduced in the spring by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) The panel testified that the law was needed to protect other journalists from what happened to Miller.