To a journalist, sources are the most important part of the job. Without sources, journalists could not do their job and inform the public of what is happening.
In recent years there has been controversy over source leaking and journalists have been under fire to reveal their trusted sources. The Shield Law which is used in 49 of the 50 states protects reporters from revealing the sources they use.
In December of 2006, The American Journalism Review questioned multiple reporters from various newspapers about revealing sources.
Ryan Ludlow of The Columbus Dispatch said, “The protection of the identity of confidential services is not open to hedges or negotiation.”
Many of the reporters the American Journalism Review had interviewed felt the same way as Ryan Ludlow. Sources are to be confidential no matter what and if leaked would betray the trust of the reporters according to the American Journalism Review.
In July of 2003 New York Times reporter Robert Novak revealed in an article a covert CIA agent named Valerie Plame Wilson according to Time.com. Novak revealed that Wilson was a CIA operative working on weapons of mass destruction. Times reporter Judith Miller was imprisoned in 2005 for having involvement with the leaking of Wilson.
Reporters in recent years have been trialed for not revealing sources that leaked information to them about national security.
Reporters refuse to reveal their sources even in cases of national security and in any other case.
Seth Borenstein a national correspondent of Knight Rider Newspapers said, “ In the end I will always protect a source after granting confidentiality.”
— Seth Abrahamson