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State-by-State Guide to the Reporter's Privilege for Student Media


© 2010 Student Press Law Center

Reporter's privilege laws vary by state. Some laws provide broad protection, shielding both unpublished and published information as well as confidential and non-confidential sources and information. Others are less protective. While most states have not had occasion to consider whether their reporters privilege law is applicable to student journalists, those that have have generally not distinguished between student and commercial media in extending the privilege to cover student reporters.

The following state-by-state (including the District of Columbia) guide represents the Student Press Law Center's best guess regarding the applicability of reporter's privilege laws to student news media. For a more general discussion regarding the use of reporters privilege laws, be sure to read our Student Media Guide to Reporter's Privilege Law.

States

Federal Circuits In addition to protection provided by state shield laws or state courts, most federal courts have also recognized some form of reporter's privilege. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has produced an outstanding 50-state compendium, The Reporter's Privilege, that provides more detailed information on reporter's privilege law, including an excellent discussion of the privilege recognized by courts in the various federal appellate circuits.



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