j360- writing assignment #5.doc

j360- writing assignment #5.doc - give up a source who has...

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Griffin Warner J315 Despite the fact that journalists are not called daily as witnesses in court regarding their interviews, the constant fear of being forced to do so can cripple the spirit of any person. Journalist’s privilege, or a lack of one, is by far the most troubling ethical issue that the profession faces on a regular basis. At any time a journalist could be subpoenaed, or called upon to offer testimony bound by the law, regarding an interview once conducted in order to add credibility to a story. When this situation arises, a journalist has two distinct, career-altering choices. He or she could either destroy their reputation by revealing their source, who they had promised anonymity to in order to even get the interview, or the journalist could lose their freedom as a citizen of the United States if the presiding judge decides to jail them for contempt of court. It is easy to doubt that a judge would actually decide to jail a journalist for refusing to
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Unformatted text preview: give up a source who has information pertaining to a court case, but it has certainly happened. Whenever a journalist has information relevant to a case, when there is no other means to get this information, and a compelling or overriding interest exists, he or she will be forced to testify. In 2004, a reporter working for WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island named Jim Taricani was sentenced to six months house arrest for refusing to divulge his source from a video that showed bribery of public officials. Unfortunately, journalists today have to look over their shoulders and be wary of the law at all times. Subpoenas and court orders only hinder the process of journalism, which needs to be fixed by giving journalists the same rights as spouses, doctors, lawyers, and clergy to refuse to testify....
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This note was uploaded on 06/15/2011 for the course J 360 taught by Professor Jensen during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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j360- writing assignment #5.doc - give up a source who has...

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