Press: Breaking The Code of Confidentiality

Two newspapers are found guilty of revealing a source

Dan Cohen had spent enough time around reporters to know that few deals are considered more inviolable than the one between a journalist and a confidential source. So six days before Minnesota's 1982 gubernatorial election, Cohen, a Republican Party activist and public relations director of one of the city's most prominent advertising agencies, alerted four local political reporters to a juicy story: Marlene Johnson, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, had been convicted of shoplifting $6 worth of sewing supplies from Sears twelve years earlier. The reporters were free to use the information, Cohen said, so long as they did not...

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