Reporting: Problems of Protecting a Source

The headline in the University of Oregon's student newspaper said STU DENTS CONDONE MARIJUANA USE. But when the district attorney asked Daily Emerald Managing Editor Annette Buchanan just who the students in her story were, she refused to say. It was not that Annette did not know. She simply thought that the right to silence was part of the freedom of the press. And last week she said she would stick by that right, come law or high water.

To Annette and most Americans, freedom of the press is an all-encom passing concept that is guaranteed by the Bill of...