An Analysis of Various First Amendment Court Cases, Dealing with the Rights and Protections of the Media and Journalists.

I.   Introduction
Since the inception of Freedom of the Press almost a century before the Revolutionary War with New England, the press has greatly influenced the future of Americans, both social and political. Legal scholars did not truly understand the First Amendment until the ratification of the First Amendment in 1791, which constitutionally protected the Freedom of the Press due to the courts giving careful consideration and setting apart the Amendment’s Freedom of the Press clause from the Freedom of Speech clause.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s the press rigorously pounded the steps of the court revealing judicial conflict over its rights and practices. Court cases such as Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972) and Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555 (1980), tried to strengthen journalist newsgathering powers and its access to government information. Strengthening journalist newsgathering powers and its access to government information became the mission of the Press. The journalists of this era became more aggressive in their reporting.
During the press quest for constitutional protection, the press found the “fourth estate” view, which would later justify its sought-after freedoms and privileges. The “fourth estate” view emphasizes the role of the press to alert the public to abuses and incidents of corruption in government. This would allow the press to explore and investigate events, inform people of what is going on and allow reporters to expose the harmful and good influences at work.
Unfortunately the fourth estate view has received inconsistent and hesitant treatment in courts. In the 1972 court case Branzburg v. Hayes 408 U.S. 665 the Court found that requiring reporters to disclose confidential information to grand juries served a "compelling" and "paramount" state interest and did not violate the First Amendment.
The fact that reporters receive information from sources in confidence does not privilege them to withhold that...