Susan L. Dolin


Despite the increasing importance of the journalist in society, one controversy which has long been of significant concern to reporters has yet to be resolved - the compelled disclosure of journalistic sources in courtroom or grand jury proceedings. Threatened with citation for contempt, the journalist in such situations must often face two equally unacceptable alternatives: divulge a confidential source, or go to jail. To circumvent conflicts of this nature, the journalistic profession has urged the adoption of an evidentiary privilege which would protect reporters from compelled disclosure of confidential sources. This Note will focus on one means of instituting such a privilege - the shield law. To provide a framework for the analysis of legislative efforts in this area, however, the discussion must begin with an examination into the scope and limitations of judicially-recognized concepts of journalistic privilege.