Special ASNE ‘Summit’ Brings Top Editors Together On Sourcing Issues

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By: Joe Strupp

Some of the nation’s top newspaper editors plan to convene in Washington, D.C. on Thursday in a special day-long summit aimed at tackling the issues surrounding anonymous sourcing and the press.

Dubbed a summit focusing on “the erosion of the First Amendment,” the conference, sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, will also include an address by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

“In civil and criminal cases, journalists are increasingly being held in contempt and threatened with jail or fines for refusing to divulge sources of information,” an ASNE release on the event stated. It also noted that those involved are “concerned about the compelled disclosure of confidential sources.”

The summit, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the National Press Club, will include Executive Editor Bill Keller of The New York Times, Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. of The Washington Post, and Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The event will be held the same week that former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby goes to trial for his part in the Valeria Plame scandal. During that investigation, several reporters were subpoenaed to testify about their sources who leaked the identity of Plame, a former CIA operative.

ASNE, with financial support from McCormick Tribune Foundation,
is organizing the event with The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

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