A proposal in the Maryland House of Representatives could make a big splash in the journalism industry if it passes.
House Bill 257 would include in the state's shield law any student journalist enrolled in college and involved in gathering or disseminating news, the Student Press Law Center reports. Current Maryland law protects any journalist employed by news organizations, without a specific reference to college journalists.
Shield law protections allow journalists to protect their sources and, unless disclosure is deemed legally necessary, their notes or unpublished materials, the report says. Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism's ongoing legal battle over the Medill Innocence Project prompted Maryland Delegate Sandy Rosenberg's proposal. Rosenberg hopes other states will follow Maryland.
The bill is backed by College Media Advisers and the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association.
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