When I first heard about Claire’s story, I thought that it was an issue of concealing a witness to protect him or her from being heard in court. I thought that a reporter was claiming to have disputable information, and stated that it came from a credible, though anonymous, source. I thought that a reporter was expecting to testify on behalf of an anonymous person. I thought that the reporter was justly fired from her job, but since her employer refused to reveal the reason, she imposed a wild story about it.
I discovered that this was like the game of “telephone” in which a simple message is orally passed along a line of people, as accurately as possible, and the last version is found to be quite different from the original one.
I discovered that award-winning investigative reporter Claire O’Brien gave a voice to Latinos who often had no other voice, by publishing their stories in a newspaper. She obtained information about a murder from people who trusted her. A subpoena demanded her notes. The judge threatened to hold her in contempt of court if she did not reveal a certain source who revealed embarrassing and incriminating information about the popular person who was killed. She refused to reveal her notes and source. She won an award for the murder news story…after she was fired by the newspaper that had employed her while she wrote it. Quickly, organizations that claimed to support free speech and professional journalism joined a campaign to discredit Ms. O’Brien.
She is now destitute, dependent on public aid. Lawyers and reporters who are aware of the facts have been unable to share her story because of likely repercussions. Public pressure is her hope for justice, since she trusts that Tom Mauro, a key player in this dispute, will set the record straight, when pressed.
1. read her story
2. participate in her petition to Tony Mauro
3. share her story with others
Thank you for sharing Claire’s hopes and dreads.