We undertook a survey of newspaper editors to determine their views regarding promises of confidentiality, to determine the effect of the Cohen case on the newspaper industry, and to discover related information. This article will discuss the Cohen case and report the survey results. Section II of the article sets forth the facts that led to the lawsuit brought by source Dan Cohen against two Minneapolis newspapers for breach of promise of confidentiality. Section III sets forth the history of the lawsuit itself, as it proceeded through the Minnesota state courts to the United States Supreme Court, reaching a final resolution on remand to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court's first decision, and the United States Supreme Court's decision in the case were all split decisions. Section III includes a summary of the arguments made by both the court majorities and the dissenters. Section IV reports and discusses the survey results. Section V provides a summary and conclusion.
Daniel Levin and Ellen Rubert,
Promises of Confidentiality to News Sources After Cohen v. Cowles Media Company: A Survey of Newspaper Editors, 24 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.