WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Protecting Confidential Sources

Dec 23, 2014

Reporter Joseph Hosey will not be forced to reveal the source of a leak in a northern Illinois murder case.

The Associated Press reported appellate court judges reversed a lower-court ruling that ordered Hosey to name his source.

Hosey works for the AOL news website Patch. In his reporting about the January 2013 killings in Joliet, Hosey included details from confidential police reports that had not been publicly released.

Three people have either been convicted or pleaded guilty in the double murder case and a fourth suspect awaits trial.

The Shop Talk panelists feel the appellate court made the right decision.

Rich Moreno said this case demonstrates why shield laws exist.

Panelist Rich Egger said questions were raised about whether Hosey should be considered a journalist because he reported for a website. Moreno said Hosey reported for newspapers in the past and his current work clearly demonstrates he is still a journalist.  Egger and panelist Jasmine Crighton concurred.

Crighton also said some important stories require the use of confidential sources and those sources might not be willing to speak if they fear a court will order journalists to reveal their identity.

This is the final program of 2014.  Enjoy a happy holiday season and join us for more Shop Talk in 2015.