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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

News Sources

Posted Monday, March 5, 2012, at 11:20 PM

It is an age of media overload. (Or was that so "twenty seconds ago"?) Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, and other internet-based sources of information and news are threatening newspapers with extinction. And newspapers and radios are joining the world wide web in an "adapt or die" survival reaction.

I still (slightly) prefer holding a newspaper or magazine over my Ipad or notebook. However the message arrives, it is the content that matters. And content is meaningless without knowledge of the source.

The source is not easy to discern these days. Take, for example, a full-page newspaper advertisement that appears to be a news report about some scientific breakthrough.

Even more subtle are the "stories" about indictments and criminal sentencings that appear to come from the newspaper (or radio) but in reality are spoon-fed to those media by the government. ("You can trust us---we are from the government.")

Years ago, after successfully defending a client in my first federal criminal jury trial in Sioux City, I raced to the Sioux City Journal the next day to read the article "Federal Jury Finds Woman Not Guilty". What a joke on me. There was no article. The reporter who "wrote" the court stories simply printed whatever press release the government sent them. And the government forgot to send the one about the acquital. At least I learned that much from the experience.

News reporters, do us all a favor and tell us--up front and in words that we cannot misconstrue---the source of the information you report. And if you report a story about a charge or indictment--even if the report is served to you by a government press release---report how it turns out, too. As Paul Harvey would say....give us "the rest of the story".



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Description: JP's take on legal (and other) issues which interest him. Biography: Born in Spencer Iowa, February 6, 1957; Graduated Spencer High School 1975; University of Iowa (B.B.A. 1979); Creighton University School of Law (J.D. 1984); American Jurisprudence Award: Debtor/Creditor Relations; Assistant State Attorney, Florida, 12th Judicial Circuit, 1986-89; Assistant Clay County Iowa Attorney, 1989-93; Iowa State Bar Association: Volunteer Lawyers, 1993- ; American Citizenship Committee, 1994-98; Bridge the Gap Committee 1991-94; Criminal Justice Act Panel Member, 2002- ; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004- ; Iowa Association for Justice, 2004- ; American Bar Association, 1984- ; Florida Bar Association, 1986- .