Mini Poll: Should Reporters Be Required To Reveal Sources?

Early last year, the U.S. Justice Department secretly seized extensive telephone records of calls on both work and personal phones for employees of the Associated Press. At the time, the news organization, using government leaks, had broken a story about an international terrorist plot. The government obtained the phone records without giving the news organization prior notice, as is customary. Do you think the government was probably justified in taking these actions or does this sound more like the government went too far?

Probably justified:
 25%
Went too far:
 75%

Works in Journalism

Probably justified:
 13%
Went too far:
 88%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Probably justified:
 27%
Went too far:
 73%

More generally, how concerned are you that in trying to protect classified information the federal government will improperly intrude on the freedom of the press?

Very concerned:
 50%
Somewhat concerned:
 29%
Not too concerned:
 15%
Not concerned at all:
 5%

Works in Journalism

Very concerned:
 67%
Somewhat concerned:
 25%
Not too concerned:
 4%
Not concerned at all:
 4%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Very concerned:
 48%
Somewhat concerned:
 30%
Not too concerned:
 17%
Not concerned at all:
 5%

Which is more important to you -- that the government be able to censor news stories it feels threaten national security, or that the news media be able to report stories they feel are in the national interest?

Government censor security threats:
 16%
News media report important stories:
 55%
About the same:
 29%

Works in Journalism

Government censor security threats:
 8%
News media report important stories:
 75%
About the same:
 17%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Government censor security threats:
 17%
News media report important stories:
 54%
About the same:
 30%

Do you believe that news organizations should have a greater degree of protection from government investigations than individuals do?

Yes:
 31%
No:
 69%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 25%
No:
 75%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 32%
No:
 68%

Do you believe that the standard of protection for reporters’ sources should be different depending on whether the story is a civil matter, a criminal matter, or a matter of national security?

Yes:
 48%
No:
 52%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 21%
No:
 79%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 51%
No:
 49%

Do you believe that the same standard of protection of sources should be extended to bloggers as are granted to employees of news organizations?

Yes:
 46%
No:
 54%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 74%
No:
 26%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 43%
No:
 57%

Do you believe that every source for a news story should be identified in the story?

Yes:
 21%
No:
 79%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 13%
No:
 88%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 23%
No:
 77%

Have you ever been the unnamed source in a newspaper story?

Yes:
 11%
No:
 89%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 13%
No:
 88%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 10%
No:
 90%

Missouri is one of several states without a real “shield” law that would require government investigators to meet certain standards in state court before trying to expose reporters’ sources. Do you think the state needs such a law?

Yes:
 68%
No:
 32%

Works in Journalism

Yes:
 39%
No:
 61%

Does Not Work in Journalism

Yes:
 71%
No:
 29%

Do you work in journalism?

Yes:
 10%
No:
 90%

Note: Due to rounding, results for some questions may not total 100%.