Award Date

12-1-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Stephen Bates

Second Committee Member

Gregory Borchard

Third Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Fourth Committee Member

David Dickens

Number of Pages

147

Abstract

The history of American journalism is replete with anecdotes about news reporters enduring jail and other penalties to protect the identities of confidential sources of information. Since as early as the American Revolution journalists have often found themselves at odds with established authority. In the political cauldron of the late 1960s and early 1970s, U.S. government intrusion into the news gathering process was widespread. The notion the First Amendment protected journalists from revealing sources was invalidated by the Supreme Court's 1972 decision in Branzburg v. Hayes. Many states throughout the nation reacted by codifying a reporter's privilege. Nevada did so in 1969, protecting members of the working media from having to divulge confidences to the government. The statute was revised in 1975 to cover former media members, but the law has remained unchanged since, despite much technological innovation and economic changes in the media industry. This study tells the untold story of Nevada's shield statute, the 1968 news story that sparked the quiet crusade for its passage, and the not-so quiet efforts in 1975 to make the already strong protections even stronger. It details as well a later unsuccessful attempt to modernize the law.

Keywords

Confidential communications – Press; Freedom of the press; Government and the press; Nevada. Legislature; Reporter's privilege; Shield law

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | First Amendment | Journalism Studies | Law

Language

English


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