Sun Sentinel by Rafael Olmeda
August 15, 2018
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said the newspaper flouted her order that portions of a school district report about Cruz should remain shielded from the public. In the future, she declared, she will consider listing exactly what the newspaper can and cannot print.
Scherer did not rule on a school district request that the newspaper and two reporters be held in contempt for publishing the information.
At issue is a report released Aug. 3 based on Cruz’s educational record, revealing what officials knew about him in the years leading up to his Feb. 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he killed 17 people and wounded 17 more.
A coalition of 30 media organizations, including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS Broadcasting and CNN, came to the Sun Sentinel’s side in a court brief filed Tuesday. They called on the judge to deny the School Board’s motion to penalize the news organization and two of its reporters, Paula McMahon and Brittany Wallman.
After the hearing, Julie Anderson, editor-in-chief of the Sun Sentinel, said: “The Sun Sentinel obtained this report lawfully, found its contents to be of great public interest, and did its duty. As the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press noted, ‘The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that the press cannot be punished for publishing or broadcasting truthful information of public concern that the press obtained legally.’”