News Reporting and Confidentiality

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Victoria Allen
Ms. Miller
English IV (4)
September 29, 2010
Just Doing Their Job
The controversy about news reporters revealing sources has been going on for years. There is an ongoing battle between the press and the courts of when not revealing information is against the law. If one looks at it from this perspective, one would see how exposing sources is a violation of people’s constitutional rights. The first amendment protects people’s names if they wish to not have it displayed. News reporters should not have to reveal sources if the person asks them not to or else, it is an invasion of privacy.

When most people are approached by a reporter, their first instinct is to ignore them or not allow the reporter to interview them. Those who do have a set up appointment or do stop for a brief interview obviously trust the reporter. If one is reluctant to give information but knows the reporter is trustworthy, they will be more likely to “come forward and provide information to reporters without fear or embarrassment” (Pinguelo, Web). People should not have to worry about reporters twisting their words around or ruining their life with the information given. Each individual has a number of individual rights, or constitutional rights. The first amendment gives people the freedom of speech; with that freedom of speech also comes the anonymous factor. “If we are able to have a free country anonymous sources require some legal protection” as well. (Alterman, Web.) Names do not have to be revealed in all cases. If reporters “keep their notes only as long as they have a ‘journalistic need’ for them,” then people do not have to worry about unwanted exposure of their name (Meyer, Web). In most cases of general articles, it does not really affect the reader if a source’s name is not put in the selection. Many people interviewed have names that are not familiar to the public; therefore, it does not really matter. Some newspapers could be accused of having fictitious...
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