David Protess v/s Medill

“To see the most celebrated faculty member on a prestigious journalism faculty in a great university come to this kind of nasty parting with his institution—for a lot of us on the inside, it remains something of a mystery,” says a former colleague.

Bryan Smith

What Happened Between David Protess and Medill?

David Protess

UPDATE (9/7/2011): This morning, Judge Diane Cannon of the Cook County Circuit Court ruled that the Northwestern University students in the reporting class of former professor David Protess were acting as investigators for the defense rather than as journalists, and were therefore not protected by the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act.

Cannon ordered that more than 500 e-mails between Protess and students who reexamined the three-decades old murder conviction of Anthony McKinney be turned over to prosecutors. The university said it is weighing its options, including a possible appeal.

The two-year legal wrangling that led to the ruling lies at the heart of the story below, which takes an in-depth look at the controversial circumstances surrounding the acrimonious departure of Protess from Northwestern and the resulting wounds that have yet to heal among many. "Loss of Innocence" appears in the October issue of Chicago, on newsstands September 15.

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