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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Time Struggles to Produce Notes for Court Deadline

Posted by a4g @ 7/06/2005 04:51:00 AM

After the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal brought by reporters Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller, legal teams are struggling to find legal ways to extend their case. The two have been subpoened by a grand jury investigating the famous leak which outed CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Asked to reveal their sources, the pair is now stuck with a journalist's worst ethical nightmare: produce notes containing the identity of a confidential source, or face jail.

"We're reporters!" said Mr. Cooper. "Our notes are held in sacred trust. And I can't very well tell the court my 'meticulous research' and 'careful sourcing' was just a pile of crumpled electric bills and credit card offers shoved into a manila folder."
Now, teams of reporters from both Time and the NYT are working around the clock to produce authentic-looking notes that might satisfy the grand jury's request. But for these veteran reporters, trying to create a realistic looking set of "reporter's notes" is uncharted territory.

Arguments have gotten heated in the newsrooms as to what form notes might take, when actually interviewing a real person. Breaking down into two camps, the "Microsoft Word" faction, and the "I retyped them by hand and destroyed the originals" camp, editors are having trouble stifling the growing animosity poisoning their staffs.

The current versions of Cooper and Miller's "reporter's notes" are said to be "breathtakingly authentic" looking.
"Some of these hacks want to photocopy the notes 20 times to artificially age them," said one newsman working on the project. "Why? Why would reporter's notes be degraded?"

But other reporters are just as vehement on the other side. "Listen, when I used to make treasure maps as a kid, there were some foolproof ways to make the thing look authentic. You had to rub it in the dirt, you had to sneak a match from your parents and burn the edges and a couple holes in the middle."

Currently, it appears that the "aging" faction has the upper hand, as the current draft of the notes contain phrases like "Thar be leakes at the CIA" and "Ye olde sourse: Billy Bones".

Get The Real Story:

Waiting for the weigh-ins... Boy, that only took 6 days. Hugh Hewitt has a nice sum-up. Jeff Jarvis asks more questions than he answers, but they're interesting questions. An oldie but a goodie here. Instapundit has a mention. This storey be linked on Mudville and OTB, arrrrgh.

UPDATE: Bump to Top, as I think this story is finally heating up.


Comments are open and unmoderated.
Abusive, hateful or irresponsible comments were probably posted by one of the contributors.
At 6/30/2005 01:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous ...
""Thar be leakes at the CIA" and "Ye olde sourse: Billy Bones""

At 7/01/2005 03:28:00 PM, Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy ...
Maybe they should do a crash course at the Jayson Blair School of "Journalism".

Ok, that does it...

You're getting linked!

Seriously, nice work, dude (guys?), whatever.

At 7/02/2005 01:57:00 PM, Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy ...
You are officially linked at my site.

Prepare for an onslaught of 1 or 2 readers!


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