Weekly Staff Editorial


One of the reasons we decided to become reporters was to inform people and for a chance to have the one story that could make a difference in not only one person’s life, but in many.

The opportunity to cause changes through reporting does not come too often for reporters. For us it is our “dare to be great” situation.

Two reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle found that diamond in the rough story. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams obtained leaked federal grand jury testimonies of several athletes in 2004 during the BALCO performance enhancing supplements investigation. Testimonies came from big-name athletes such as Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Tim Montgomery.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams reported the truth, and since, Major League Baseball has made strides in its performance-enhancing drug policies by having more testing done to players and longer suspensions for any who violate it.

A series of articles and a book by these journalists have changed baseball forever, and have contributed toward the cleansing of the sport.

So how is it that these men are going to be in prison for doing what is right?

A federal judge has ordered the reporters for a maximum of 18 months behind bars, pending appeal, for refusing to reveal their source(s) of the leaked grand jury testimonies.

These journalists have done so much for not only baseball, but for the world of sports and beyond. They have opened people’s eyes regarding steroids and other drugs in sports.

Greg Anderson was a man convicted in the BALCO investigation, and is currently in prison again, after having served three months for refusing to testify. How is it that this man who broke the law and distributed illegal drugs served only three months, while the judge ordered a maximum of a year and a half to two journalists who just reported the truth?

The government must understand the relationship between a reporter and a source. There is a trust that is established between the two, and something should be done to protect that trust. What these reporters are doing for their source(s) should make people gain a little more trust in journalists, because there are still many respectable reporters out there.

Situations like these always bring up debate on whether to have a federal law to protect journalists from revealing their sources. Protecting journalists from just doing their job would not be a bad idea.

Instead of finding out who leaked the testimonies, authorities should thank Fainaru-Wada and Williams for finally addressing a problem baseball has had for years. The reporting prompted the league to find a solution, and that caused other sports leagues to evaluate their own steroid policies.

It is tragic, as reporters, to see other fellow journalists go to prison for doing their job and keeping their word.

We just hope that when (and if) that happens to us, we will have something these reporters don’t: protection.