Statement on Medill’s Innocence Project

The Chicago Headline Club, local chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists, strongly protests the subpoenas issued by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office in a case investigated by students at Northwestern University’s School of Journalism.

In this case, Medill students investigated and recently published an article they say proves the innocence of Anthony McKinney, who was convicted of killing a security guard in 1978.

Medill Innocence Project students and faculty members have a prestigious and lengthy record of diligently probing crimes in which defendants might have been wrongfully convicted. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez appears to agree, judging by the fact she seeks detailed information from the Medill rather than relying on her own investigators.

The Headline Club believes Alvarez should rescind the subpoenas and stop pressuring Medill Innocence Project students reveal all of their notes, recordings, e-mails and even grades given. Instead, her office should use what they have already from Medill students as a basis for their own further investigation. We recommend applause for the students’ efforts to protect the innocent.

CHC President Beth Konrad said we will be following the case as it reaches a court hearing Nov. 10.

For more information, contact Susan S. Stevens, CHC Freedom of Information vice president, 312-733-1936,