In a September 21, Berkshire Eagle story titled “The Eagle Fights Springfield Diocese’s Request for Reporter’s Notes on Clergy Rape in Effort to Protect Confidential Sources,” Partner Jeffrey Pyle is quoted. The Eagle’s court appearance today was its attempt to fight the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in its bid to get a reporter to reveal a confidential source. The Eagle said that doing so would break the reporter’s promise not to reveal the identity of a person who provided information about a Chicopee man’s lawsuit claim that as an altar boy in the 1960s he was repeatedly raped by clergy.
“Pyle, the Boston-based media law attorney representing [The Eagle] says its been at least a decade since he’s gone to court on behalf of a reporter to protect a confidential source,” notes the article. “And I think that that speaks to the care that judges typically take with weighing a party’s request for information against the threat to the First Amendment,” Jeff explains. He also notes that “the legal fallout in this case is a perfect example of what’s at stake in the reporting of important news stories–particularly the risks of revealing the identify of a source who was promised that they would remain anonymous.”
Jeffrey Pyle is the practice group leader for Prince Lobel’s Media, Publishing, and First Amendment Law team. He represents newspapers, magazines, and investigative journalism organizations in cases involving alleged defamation, access to government documents, subpoenas to identify sources, and sealed court records. He also provides prepublication review services to media companies, advising them on how to avoid liability in reporting the news.