A Message from the Dean
Confidential Sources on Trial
Shelter From the Storm
Harrison Report: Post-World War II Bombshell
A Case of Political Descent
Clinic Hits Thirty
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
Case Closed
 
Confidential Sources on Trial
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Pearlstine, once managing editor and executive editor of The Wall Street Journal, insists that, despite requiring him to call on his legal training more fully than at any other time in his career, his decision did not reflect a triumph of his sensibilities as a law yer over his journalistic instincts. “I think I benefit as an editor from having had the legal training,” he says. “And similarly, I think that the legal training forced me to engage in a level of rigor and analysis that was different from a kind of emotional response that just says, once you tell a source you're going to protect them, that's an automatic conferral of confidential source status.”

The difficulties he grappled with and the fact that more than 30 state attorneys general signed an amicus brief to Time Inc.'s certiorari petition underscores the need for a federal law to pro tect reporters from having to testify about confidential sources, Pearlstine believes. Baine points out that most formulations of a shield law would not have helped the company's case, but Pearlstine appeared before a Senate committee to lobby for such legislation last July. One of his last assignments as Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief was to work with the company's journalists, editors, and lawyers to develop guidelines “that would try to distinguish between the anonymity that is granted for publication and the confidential source status that would lead us to resist court orders,” says Pearlstine. “We're trying to come up with something we can all live with.”
 
Previous Page Next Page