Fox News reporter Jana Winter may receive jail time for choosing not to reveal her source who told her that James Holmes (the Aurora movie theater shooter) mailed a violent notebook before the shooting. She reported exclusively about the journal Holmes sent to his psychiatrist including some of the details inside the book.
If the journal is admitted into the case as evidence, the court will ask Winter’s to give up her source. If she refuses to, which seems like she will, she will face jail time.
Why? Because Holmes’s lawyers want her to disclose her sources because they believe her sources may have violated gag orders. But once again, why is it relevant? Because Holmes’s lawyers feel that this shows the credibility of the law enforcement officers who went under oath and said they did not leak the information. But Fox News and Winter’s lawyers are arguing that she does not have to reveal her source under the First Amendment and Colorado’s “shield law,” which protects reporters against this type of thing.
The real problem here is the chance reporters have to gather news freely that is in the public interest. It seems like there is no freedom in that. I feel that Winter’s is doing the right thing, especially if there is such a “shield law” to protect her.
As journalists, it is important to find a source and once you do, it is important to gain the trust and protect the source. Most journalist, in my opinion take a lot of time to think about what exactly they are publishing when it comes to sources. A source can potentially make or break a story.
Think of the Watergate Scandal. A simple article by two reporters and their main source led to the resignation of a president.
Sources are very much important to a story, but a source must trust the reporter. I feel that Winter’s is paving the way for future journalist alike. She is showing how important journalist can be in terms of informing the public and teaching others how trustworthy a journalist can be.