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Journalism

Transformation in channels of news delivery and the ascendence of the blogger-reporter raise challenges for citizens and the Republic. The JUST Journalsim Section examines the nascent obligations of those who shape public opinion and purvey "news" in emerging media.

Marty PerlmutterPatricia Mendoza

Wednesday
Oct022013

Paying Attention to the Shield Law’s Critics

Eric Newton
Columbia Journalism Review, September 24, 2013 

Journalists shouldn’t blindly support the shield law without taking in the whole picture

When a Senate committee this month approved the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2013,” applause was heard from scores of media shield law supporters, from theNewspaper Association of America to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. To them, the news came as a relief after revelations the feds had secretly seized Associated Press phone records and labeled a Fox News reporter a criminal “co-conspirator” as an excuse to get his emails.

An all-star lineup of industry groups supports the bill. They see it as the best step yet toward extending First Amendment freedoms into the newsgathering process. The critics, however, have been journalists who do the hardest stories, the national security stories. At an event I organized at the Newseum last week, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff generously allowed one of them, longtime investigative journalist Scott Armstrong, to debate the rest of the panel.

“There’s not a national security reporter that I can find who supports the shield law,” Armstrong said, “because it won’t protect us. We’re going to get exempted out of it one way or another.” Read more…

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