NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 23, 2013

A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts of editorials from other newspapers across New England:

The New York Supreme Court handed down a far-reaching decision, upholding the sanctity of a reporter’s right to protect the identity of a confidential source. In a 4-3 ruling, based on New York’s shield law, the High Court reversed a lower court’s decision compelling FoxNews reporter Jana Winter from appearing in the Colorado murder trial of James Holmes.

Winter wrote a factual story, based on information she received from confidential law enforcement officials, about a notebook Holmes sent to his psychiatrist prior to the mass movie theater shooting in July 2012. In it, Holmes reportedly provided details and explicit drawings about how he intended to perpetrate a massacre. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a midnight showing of Batman in Aurora, Colo.

The facts of Winter’s story aren’t disputed but Colorado judge Carlos Samour ordered her to reveal her sources. Winter vowed that she would spend the rest of her life in jail before she would betray their confidence.

We’re beyond pleased that Winter won’t have to go to jail for doing her job and upholding a core First Amendment principle. But every American has a vested interest in holding people in power to account. That is only possible when a free, independent media can report facts, received from confidential sources, without fear of retribution.

New York has one of the strongest shield laws in the country. It should serve as a model for a federal protection.

— The Caledonian-Record of St. Johnsbury, Vt.

All politics is local, or at least that’s what we’ve been told.

But what if elections for state office were financed by national organizations and not local people or the candidates themselves? What if, after the election, state representatives, state senators and governors pursued an agenda that was cooked up by the same national groups that would not only pick the issues, but also supply “model legislation” and policy research?

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