The Press: Newsmen v. the Courts

Keeping confidences is part of the newsman's stock in trade. A promise that the source of a story will be kept secret is often vital before an interview is permitted. Journalists argue that such confidentiality is protected by the First Amendment guarantee of a free press.

But lately the courts have been seeing things differently. In the past year three newsmen* have come out second best in arguments with the courts. Last week the courts won another round in the clash between the press and the law. U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica ordered John Lawrence, Washington bureau chief of the Los...

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