Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Boever & Schmidt review Shepard, "Privileging the Press: Confidential Sources, Journalism Ethics, and the First Amendment"

The Law & Politics Book Review has posted a review of Privileging the Press: Confidential Sources, Journalism Ethics, and the First Amendment (LFB Scholarly Publishing), by Jason M. Shepard. Here's an excerpt of the review, by Bess Boever and Patrick Schmidt (Macalester College):
. . . . If society has tasked journalists with the responsibility of keeping citizens informed about our public officials, and a promise of confidential to journalists’ sources is a beneficial or even necessary part of that work, what protections should journalists receive from subpoenas asking them to testify? Shepard’s work seeks to examine the connections between the legal and ethical development of standards surrounding the respect for confidential sources. By providing a historical perspective on the question, along with numerous contemporary case studies, Shepard most importantly demonstrates how the rise of journalism ethics as a part of the wider professionalism movement in the American media prefigured public acceptance of the interest in protection of sources confidentiality. In an account that opens up new levels of appreciation for the multi-faceted nature of the problem, Shepard aims to show how the journalists’ privilege then found its way — haltingly and unevenly — into legislative and judicial arenas.
Continue reading here.