Tonawanda News

Columns

April 10, 2013

DUVALL: Reporters rely on their good names

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — In short, we have to be sure what the sources are saying is correct. (That’s where Winter shined, having found two different people to confirm the same information, a huge step toward establishing its validity.)

Of course, the lawyers representing Mr. Holmes don’t have the same goal as an investigative reporter. 

Holmes’ legal team was apoplectic at the leak, which violated a judicial gag order prohibiting all involved in the case — including police and prosecutors — from speaking to the media.

There’s no doubt the journal leak is a detriment to Holmes’ defense. 

Now, bent on finding out who the sources in Winter’s story were, Holmes’ lawyers have issued a subpoena compelling her testimony. She, like any reporter would do in this unenviable situation, has lived up to her pledge to her sources not to reveal their identity. If she continues to refuse to do so while under oath she could be held in contempt and sent to jail.

Thankfully it hasn’t come to that just yet — but it could.

The judge overseeing the case ruled in court Tuesday Winter doesn’t have to testify, thanks largely to a technicality. Because the diary is presently covered by Holmes’ doctor-patient privilege it won’t likely be entered into evidence. That is, unless Holmes’ defense team decides to mount an insanity defense, which would open up questions about his prior treatment — and putting the journal back in play as potential evidence.

There are many instances where being a reporter is an uncomfortable profession. But being forced to out sources under penalty of jail has a chilling effect on sources speaking to reporters in general. 

It’s difficult enough to get people to give you information they don’t want made public without their questioning your credibility. When the government potentially compromises that trust beyond your control, it’s all the more infuriating.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue