Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Naming Names: The Blame, the Shame

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Naming Names: The Blame, the Shame

Article excerpt

Jon Craig did not blink. Mike Gallagher did.

Separated by hundreds of miles, a couple of days, and a different journalistic ethic, a stark contrast played out in two Ohio courtrooms in early April.

On one side of the state, Craig, a statehouse reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, was sentenced to jail by a judge for refusing to reveal to prosecutors his confidential sources for a story alleging Medicaid fraud.

Craig, 40, balked at telling a county grand jury when he got copies of private Medicaid records about alleged Medicaid fraud. The reporter was sentenced to jail, but the order was suspended, pending an appeal by the Beacon Journal's lawyers.

Just days earlier in a Cincinnati courtroom, Mike Gallagher, a former investigative reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, revealed the name of a confidential source who provided him with access codes to the voice-mail system of Chiquita Brand International officials. The Gannett-owned paper was working on a story about the business practices of the world's largest banana producer.

Last June, the newspaper ran three front page apologies and paid $10 million to Chiquita. In a deal with prosecutors, Gallagher agreed to name names in order to avoid jail after he pleaded guilty last year to illegally accessing the company's voice mail messages.

Craig says he was disappointed Gallagher revealed his source.

"I understand the personal ordeal that he is going through. I did get e-mail from a friend at the Enquirer who knew both of us. …

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