By: Staff reports
Editor Lundy Uses Web To Avoid Subpoena
The St. Paul Pioneer Press said this past weekend that it published
photos online in order to avoid a subpoena from authorities.
While reporting on a northern Minneapolis neighborhood where an
11-year-old was recently shot, a newspaper photographer captured a
series of apparent drug deals on film. But because photographer
Richard Marshall couldn’t confirm what was in the bags, the newspaper
carefully wrote its photo captions to avoid libel.
In an editor’s note to Pioneer Press readers, Editor Walker Lundy
said, ‘The caption said what Marshall saw: The people in the photos
were exchanging cash for small packets. Readers could draw their own
The newspaper’s next question was: ‘What do we do if the Minneapolis
police demand to see our unpublished photos in an attempt to pursue
drug dealing in the neighborhood?’
In his letter, Lundy said that if served a subpoena, he would have
to obey. He told readers that journalists often try to avoid giving
law enforcement their notes and photos in fear that it compromises
their ability to collect information from sources.
So the newspaper decided to publish all the photos online to avoid a
subpoena. According to Lundy, the photos have gotten little response.
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher