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HomePoliticsUSA TODAY wins in FBI subpoena fight over freedom of the press

USA TODAY wins in FBI subpoena fight over freedom of the press

Last year marked some exceptional American news reporting – riveting accounts of death and dying in hospital COVID-19 wards during the darkest pandemic hours, and illuminating journalism about the inner-workings of a plague.

Elsewhere, there was were dogged investigations into scores of fake news sites (out of Macedonia, of all places) used to warp voter perceptions in the 2016 election. Other reporters uncovered heart-wrenching audio of immigrant children crying as they were pulled from parents at the border, or delved into source-obtained financial documents for Donald Trump that showed how he paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017.

Journalists in a free society don’t have the power of a subpoena to obtain this kind of sensitive material. Nor can they force their way into hospital wards to observe the most intimate moments of human struggle. Their success relies on a delicate interplay of trust and professional integrity on both ends of the news process: from collecting information from hesitant sources, to reporting it to a sometimes skeptical public.

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