13 Comm. Law. 1 (1995)

handle is hein.journals/comlaw13 and id is 1 raw text is: (0
Communicafions
Publication of the Forumae
on Communications Law
American Bar Association
Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 1995

LAW OF NEWSGATHERING
Broken Promises in the Aftermath of Cohen
BY BARBARA W. WALL AND JOHN P. BORGER*

Reporters in search of information first
must deal with a variety of sources,
some of whom seek and obtain conces-
sions from the reporters in connection
with their disclosures.1 Reporters have
resisted judicial attempts to interfere
with those promises and have gone to
jail or paid contempt fines rather than
break their promises and disclose the

identities of confidential sources.
Shield statutes and state and federal
constitutional privileges have strength-
ened the reporters' positions.
In rare instances, journalists inten-
tionally have revealed confidential
sources-for reasons ranging from
exposing hypocrisy2 to keeping crimi-
nals in jail.3 While some disclosures

prompt ethical debates, other real or
imagined broken promises have found
their way into court. Some sources and
news subjects have attempted to assert
claims for breach of contract or misrep-
resentation, in addition to or in place of
more traditional media-related claims
such as defamation or invasion of pri-
Continued on page 16

Illustration by Richard Laurent

I                    IN THIS ISSUE                    I

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