While journalists are solidly behind the Chronicle reporters facing jail in the Balco case, the same can’t be said for the general public. For instance, Randy Shaw (pictured), executive director and supervising attorney of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco and editor of the progressive Beyond Chron (beyondchron.org) Web site, writes that while he doesn’t want reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada to go to jail, they don’t merit public support either. He points out that they’re willing to go to jail over the source of a grand jury transcript — and what is said in grand jury proceedings is hardly the truth. Grand jury proceedings are one-sided affairs where only the prosecution presents its case and where witnesses frequently lie — not the kind of stuff on which a solid story should be based, Shaw argues. Shaw also contends that the steroid scandal isn’t that important compared to issues like national security. He points out that the case of Josh Wolf, the freelance photographer who went to jail rather than give the government outtakes of the video he shot of a protest, is far more significant because of the ramifications it has on newsgathering. [Chron editorial: “Punishing the Press”] [Columnist Dave Del Grande: Shouldn’t this reporter be required to reveal who committed the crime?]

SF Press Club News

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