Saturday, February 10, 2007

Times-Tribune source in prison case held in contempt

A month (!) after a judge ruled that a Scranton Times-Tribune source illegally leaked grand jury testimony to the newspaper, the Times Leader (Friday) and The Times-Tribune (Saturday) are on the story, kind of. The source, state narcotics agent James Kolojejchick, was fired in the summer of 2004 and is to be sentenced for contempt of court in March. Ron Lieback of the TL names reporter Jennifer Henn and editor John Murphy as the newspaper staffers involved in the case, while Michael Race's terse nine-paragraph story does not. Neither piece really does the story justice, given the stakes (the shield law for reporters, as well as a lot of professional reputations) involved.

  • Click the headline for the TL story, click here for the T-T story

  • Read the January 2004 Scranton Times story that started it all

    Anonymous said...

    I hope they fry your ass, Murphy.

    John Mitchell said...

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm finding it hard to believe that the TT published leaked grand jury testimony...a followup on one of the paper's big big enterprise projects...and Beaupre didn't know that it violated their two-source rule.

    Had he read the story before it was published? Did he know who the sources were?

    If not, doesn't that sound awfully..... Chiquita-like??

    Did somebody in this room say "dangerously disengaged"?

    Anonymous said...

    Beaupre gave Murphy a lot of leeway in overseeing the prison stories, in part, I think, because of Beaupre's history.
    Having said that, I don't know if he questioned Murphy about the sources, just assumed the rule was being followed or even read the story before it was published.

    John Mitchell said...

    "...because of Beaupre's history." WTF????

    The managing editor, any managing editor, is not paid to give people "leeway" in printing anonymous leaks of grand jury testimony in a story that could get you sued.

    He's paid to be a I-dotting and T-crossing SOB who'll ride people to get things right. At least in the real world.

    Every time I think maybe we're being too hard on our Times Shamrock friends, I read something like that that just boggles the mind.

    If a jury heard testimony like that, their ass is grass. They'd probably get it overturned on appeal, since they're writing about public officials, but your average jury is going to assume they just didn't give a shit about getting the story right. It's certainly not "standard newspaper practice" for the ME to take a pass on a story like that.

    Anonymous said...

    Beaupre was the ONLY person in the newsroom at the time who could give the go ahead to publish an anonymous source, usually done through the intervention of the city editor. But the prison stories weren't run from the city desk; they came out of Murph's office. He made an effort to keep other editors away from the stories - Holeva wouldn't have anything to do with them or even talk to reporters when they approached him about problems with the prison stories. And there were similar problems with other prison stories, which were mysteriously killed or became totally different stories at the end of the night because Murphy's super-secret insider info turned out to be bogus and the reporters need to file something. Ask Chris Kelly and Jessica Matthews.

    Whether Beaupre knew the two-source rule had been violated doesn't matter - Murphy knew because it was his source. Beaupre may have told Murph to run with the ball, that has nothing to do with the Chiquita history. It was because the prison scandal was white hot news and selling lots of newspapers and the AME is SUPPOSED to know how to run an investigative series without screwing it up.

    Anonymous said...

    Doubt you would get an honest answer from Jess or Kelly, particularly Kelly. He's been drinking the T-S kool-aid too long.