How Journalists are Protected and their Sources?

There are laws established for businesses like heavy duty towing and in other industries to protect them from irregularities and also, to prevent them from abuse. The same thing can be said among journalists. For instance, shield laws are created to give journalists qualified or absolute privilege in refusing to disclose their sources or information acquired through the course of gathering the news.

There’s no such thing as Federal Shield Law

Back in 2018, the District of Columbia and 49 other states enacted some sort of shield law. The Congress is trying to pass the federal shield law way back 2005. Since then, it was named as Free Flow of Information Act. Then in 2017, the efforts were renewed by another bill that’s co-sponsored by US Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and US Representative Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland. Unfortunately, the bill wasn’t passed.

What Shield Laws is for Journalist?

As mentioned, shield law is providing qualified or absolute privilege, although in California, it interprets the law as something that creates immunity against finding contempt instead of a giving privilege. Privileges can be extended to information, sources or sometimes, both.

There are some statutes that are specifying that the privileges are applied to the proceedings before legislative and executive branches and even to judicial proceedings.

Actual conditions to which claims of qualified privilege might be superseded varies.

Shield Law as per State

Under normal circumstances, shield law is requiring the party to seek testimony from the journalist and to demonstrate. The objective is to demonstrate that the obtained information is material, relevant and unobtainable from alternative sources. There are other statutes specifying which actions are constituting waiver of the privilege. For instance, before publication or disclosure of the information requested, it would null the privilege.

Then again, there are shield laws that are taken from other exceptions. A good example for this can be found in the Minnesota Free Flow of Information Act. It declares that the privileges doesn’t apply in libel actions to which the party that seeks disclosure could demonstrate the source’s identity would result to relevant evidence on the issue. Even with such cases, disclosure won’t be compelled without illustrating that the information can’t be acquired from other means.

How Media is Reported and How “Bias” can be Minimized?

A lot of people nowadays have big distrust in media to the point that even a harmless translation service like are being scrutinized. These people can’t be blamed though for most of them are right. As a matter of fact, it is a good practice to question the things that you are told. It is what separates independent and intelligent individuals.

Smartly Analyzing Bias Information Presented by Media

There are several things that can help in determining whether the information distributed is biased or not.

Not All Information is Equal

Simply because objectivity or neutrality is impossible to attain, it doesn’t indicate that all information acquired is biased and flawed. While it could be problematic to rely on one source of information, it is important to hone the ability of determining thoughtful manners.

It is Highly Subjective

Because of the confirmation bias, people normally see opposing biases in similar situation. To give you an example, the same news report or image or video clip may prompt several accusations of biases from wide range of positions on entire political spectrum.

Know about Assumptions and Cynicism

Conversations and discussions towards media bias normally devolve into the exchange of cynical assumption regarding the media itself. These said assumptions normally include the idea that the media bias is nearly systematic and overt than being incidental and perceived. While objectivity or journalistic standard of neutrality is almost impossible to attain in any given report, it can help in minimizing media bias via the application of journalistic standards as well as practices.

Media in the US on the other hand are “biased” in so many ways you can imagine. It isn’t always pointing towards the right or left but oftentimes, towards the reaffirmation of worldview of insular establishment.

It ought to be obvious that there cannot be neutral journalist. It is just impossible. Everyone has moral instincts and follows their own beliefs. These will be affecting how facts would be interpreted and reported to the general public. So the best course of action here is acknowledging where we are actually coming from. By showing awareness of our own beliefs may make us trustworthy than being in denial about it.

Professional Journalism and How it should be Done

As soon as broadcast journalists steps into the newsroom and about to report breaking news, it is always a moment that separating mere readers from those who are the “true leaders” from the pack. The best and top anchors as well as “live” reporters may seem to make their job easy but in reality, it is the complete opposite. Aside from having a firm and good voice, proper delivery and professional look, those who are at the top-tier of broadcasting are capable of reporting news without script.

React and Respond

These journalists are communicating with comfort, clarity and command particularly when a story is fast developing that following formats and using scripts become useless. Acquiring skills without script is something that is built overtime. It falls on several aspects like:

  • Critical thinking
  • Continuous learning and;
  • Mental agility

If you want to become a journalist and be an expert like the ones you saw on TVs today, then here are few imperative tips to be taken into account.

Knowledge Base

Basically, this is your own understanding of names, geography, issues, history as well as your ability of putting everything in perspective for the viewers to see it in an easy to understand manner.

All of this comes from the commitment and dedication of a journalist to be the best in their craft.

When reporting and delivering news, especially if it is live, you never know when new information would come in. For this reason, journalists also have to be quick and adaptable in sorting, prioritizing, organizing and retaining huge volume of data.


Now when it comes to journalism, there is this thing called “ethical journalism”. The sensitivity to live breaking news, graphic video, unconfirmed information, words that may cause panic, endanger security and or safety of the public or words that may add pain to traumatized victims are what being considered here. As a journalist, it is your responsibility to deliver the news in a neutral manner and still show sympathy without having to cross someone’s feelings, emotions or state.

For example, if the subject of the news are mother and daughter tattoos who got involved in an accident, then you would not say that it is just the right thing for them because of their tattoos, right? Still, you have to get through the real score of the story and report it to the viewers in an informative and organized manner.