The Press: There Ought To Be a Law

The Newburgh (N.Y.) News, a tough little link in Frank Gannett's newspaper chain, was crusading against vice and gambling in its tough little town (pop. 31,883). When the News documented its case with pictures of locally sold policy tickets, a grand jury summoned News Editor Douglas V. Clarke and Reporter Charles L. Leonard, and wanted to know where the tickets came from.

The Newsmen refused to tell. Their position, as they stated it, is the standard practice of the press: "Violation of a confidence is the gravest ethical omission of which a newspaperman can stand accused." In some states the law would...