Fox News reporter Jana Winter showed visible relief Wednesday during her first interview since a New York court ruled she would not be forced to reveal confidential sources or face jail time, crying as she said she “would like to go back to work and just be a normal reporter.”
Winter spoke with Fox’s Shepard Smith about yesterday’s 4-3 decision, which prevented authorities from compelling Winter to return to Colorado and reveal her sources or be jailed “indefinitely.” The reporter had been the first to break news that the alleged shooter from last year’s massacre in Aurora, Colorado had sent a notebook full of violent images and deranged ideas to his psychiatrist. A Colorado court believed someone violated a gag order, and ordered that Winter give up her sources or go to prison.
“That would’ve never happened,” Winters asserted. “I promised my sources I would keep their identities confidential, and would’ve ended up having to go to jail to do so.”
SMITH: How did you process this thought of being put in jail for doing your job?
WINTER: It’s horrible. I’ve had a year to stew over it and it sucks every day in all ways. There’s nothing I think you can really do to prepare. I did watch ‘Orange is the New Black’ — which is not entirely encouraging — and tried to make sure that my little brother was going to be in charge of watering my two plants and figuring out sort of how to survive if I were to be in jail. And it’s horrendous.
Winter praised New York for “understanding the importance of sources and confidential news gathering” and stressed that the unprecedented push by Colorado to put her in jail represented a threat to all journalism.
WINTER: I thought, “Oh wow, this is kind of a big deal, this is about what [reporters] do, all of us.” And that was sort of a lot of responsibility to feel for just what we all do every day. This was a story covering breaking news. This is the last thing I thought that would ever in a million years turn into this. But if this means that one of our colleagues in the journalism field doesn’t have to go through what I went through and that sources will feel more comfortable opening up to reporters — hopefully us — then the public is better for it. And I’m honored to be a part of that.
Smith told Winters that her stand had made journalists throughout the country proud, and asked her what she wanted to do now. Winters held back tears:
WINTERS: I would like to go back to work and just be a normal reporter and do my job and . . . I woke up this morning being confused like I had forgotten something, but it was because I wasn’t worried about going to jail for the first time. So hopefully I can just settle in and . . . my lawyers are amazing and this company’s amazing . . . and I’m wearing make-up so I’m not going to cry. I probably would like a nap, and then I can move on.
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