In what is likely the first test of a new state shield law for reporters, a Sedgwick County district judge ruled today The Wichita Eagle does not have to reveal confidential sources sought in a lawsuit.
Judge William Woolley said Kansas’ new shield law prohibits journalists from being compelled to provide unpublished information that could be obtained by other avenues.
“It’s the first challenge I know of for the shield law,” said Lyndon Vix, attorney for the Eagle. “It’s certainly the first for the Eagle and in Sedgwick County. I think it showed the law works, at least as far as it requires reasonable efforts to be made to acquire the information through alternative means. I think the judge was proper in his interpretation of a law that’s only four months old.”
The judge said the request could be renewed after the plaintiff in the suit makes reasonable efforts to obtain what they’re seeking from other sources.