Newspaper sues former reporter for notes, documents
COLORADO–A Boulder judge ruled in early January that a reporter who took her notes and other documents with her when she quit her job at the Boulder Daily Camera can keep them pending resolution of the newspaper’s claim that it owns them. But she must provide copies of the materials to the newspaper, because both parties have a right to the documents until the matter is resolved at trial, the court held.
The Camera is seeking a court order to compel Allison Krupski, the newspaper’s former lead reporter on the JonBenet Ramsey story, to return copies of court documents and autopsy reports it claims she took with her when she resigned.
The newspaper is also seeking compensation for documents it contends Krupski destroyed before quitting. Krupski claims that she destroyed some documents in response to a request from the confidential source who provided them.
At the early-January hearing, District Court Judge Daniel Hale ordered Krupski to photocopy the documents in her possession and give the copies to the Camera, which she did.
William Meyer, Krupski’s attorney, said the ultimate issue in the lawsuit was whether or not a reporter has the right to keep personal copies of public documents and other material gathered in pursuit of a story after leaving a news organization.
Laurin Quiat, attorney for the Camera, said that the lawsuit was about property rights, not press freedom.
“This is not a First Amendment case,” he said. “These documents were obtained by an employee on the Daily Camera’s time, in many cases with the Daily Camera’s funds. To us, it’s clear that documents obtained on our time with our nickel are our property.” (Daily Camera v. Krupski; Reporter’s Counsel: William Meyer, Boulder; Newspaper Counsel: Laurin Quiat, Denver)