During my two decades in this business, I've covered law enforcement and other police-related stories. I've questioned cops on the beat and officials in the front office.

I've worked with the FBI and other federal agencies. Never have I participated in such an overreaction to a story of great public interest, as the case of the bombing in Olympic Centennial Park and the identification of security guard Richard Jewell. We, the media, blew it.

Steven Geimann

President, Society of Professional Journalists.1

Just before 1 a.m. on July 27, 1996, Centennial Olympic Park security guard Richard Jewell noticed a suspicious backpack under a bench in front of the AT&T light and sound tower. He and other officers began clearing the area, still crowded with people celebrating the start of the summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Minutes later, an anonymous 911 caller warned police that a bomb would explode in the park in 30 minutes, but park officials received the information too late. At 1:10 a.m. Jewell evacuated the five-story tower next to the bomb. Ten minutes later a pipe bomb in the backpack exploded, propelling shrapnel in all directions. In the sudden chaos, one woman died instantly and 110 people suffered injuries. Jewell was credited with saving lives and reducing injuries. Hailed as a hero and, with the help and urging of his employer, AT&T, Jewell soon agreed to 10 interviews with print and broadcast reporters.2

However, as the FBI's initial focus on two Alabama militia men faded, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) received an anonymous tip that investigators were focusing on Jewell. On July 29 AJC reporters staked out Jewell's apartment. FBI agents soon joined the vigil. The next morning the AJC ran the headline, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb."3 Within hours, CNN anchors were reading it on air and reporters besieged Jewell's home. As the scramble intensified to get the story, the AJC stayed in front of the pack, running countless stories not only about the investigation, but about Jewell's personal life, work history, and potential motives as the "lone bomber."4

Not An Ordinary Circumstance

In evaluating the ethics of the AJC's reporting, it is critical to consider the unique circumstances in which the bombing occurred. The Olympics drew international attention to Atlanta and a commensurately significant media presence. The AJC, accustomed to being the most powerful media source in Atlanta, now had to vie with reporters from the national desks of ABC, NBC, CBS, The New York Times, and USA Today.

The Jewell incident also intersected with a growing national concern over terrorism, and pressure to immediately find the culprit meant added prestige for whoever got the story first. The AJC, as the hometown paper, was fearful of losing the bomber scoop. AJC reporter Ron Martz, as quoted by Peter Applebome in a New York Times piece, recalled, "If we'd gotten beaten, we'd have been the laughing stock of the industry. We are the only newspaper in town."5

The annals of journalism reveal that such conditions are dangerously conducive to excesses, mistakes, and ethical lapses; journalistic integrity is critical during such challenging times. The journalist must strike a balance between zealous pursuit of the story and strict adherence to ethical reporting.

Reporting on a Suspect

In their book, Groping for Ethics in Journalism, co-authors Ron Smith and Gene Goodwin cite a survey of newspaper editors that found that while "three-fourths of editors [would] use the names of suspects who are in custody but not formally charged," only "one-fifth [would] name suspects not yet arrested or charged with any crime."6 In other words, the privacy standard accorded to suspects shifts once it becomes clear they will be formally charged. This is appropriate, given the higher standard of evidence required for a formal charge, which reduces the danger of downplaying a suspect's presumed innocence.

Smith cites the presence of an "overriding public need" as a critical factor in determining this privacy issue.7 Because the Olympic Park bombing was an event of immense importance, there existed an overriding public need for information. When the AJC learned the FBI had pinpointed a suspect, the newspaper was obligated to report it.

However, many critics have taken issue with how the AJC reported the investigation. Prominent among them is Joann Byrd, former Washington Post ombudsman, who contended that the AJC erred in naming Jewell. A nationally recognized journalism ethicist, Byrd argued in a 1996 Poynter Institute online discussion that "our public would [not] have us damage an innocent person's reputation in our rush to identify a specific suspect." The AJC should have looked "for a way to describe the person without using the name, or so much detail that the person [could] be identified anyway," Byrd argued.8 Given the large number of security guards on duty near the incident, she asserted that it would have been more ethical for the AJC to refer to Jewell simply as a "security guard" instead of by name. While this presents an appealing alternative, it was not viable in this case. Because the important case generated overwhelming public interest, it warranted a high standard of accuracy and specificity. Fueled by fears of terrorism, the AJC gave more weight to the immediate public desire for details than to Jewell's interest in remaining anonymous.

In any case, it is unrealistic to believe such a compelling story could go unreported for long. Lou Gelfand, an AJC staff reporter, said in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune interview that "in reality, there is no way a guy who has been touted on the 'Today' show that very morning as a hero and then quizzed by the FBI for eight hours, is not an amazing event. Even if it turns out to be a passing fancy by the FBI, by its very nature it is sensational. Plainly, by any definition of news, that is news."9

The AJC's obligation to accurately report developments was counterbalanced by an ethical necessity to assume the equal possibility of Jewell's innocence. The Society of Professional Journalists' (SPJ) Code of Ethics requires members to, "[b]e judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges" and to "[b]alance a criminal suspect's fair trial rights with the public's right to be informed."10

The presentation of the initial Jewell story was more befitting the capture of the bomber than the identification of a suspect. The headline, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb," ran across the front page of a special edition of the AJC on July 30, 1996.11 It is worth noting that the AJC publishes four or fewer such special editions per year. Three or more Jewell stories appeared within a page of each other during the week in spite of no substantial developments in the FBI's investigation.

The first paragraph of the initial AJC story was characteristic of subsequent AJC coverage. The piece, written by reporters Kathy Scruggs and Ron Martz, began: "Richard Jewell, 33, a former law enforcement officer, fits the profile of the lone bomber. This profile generally includes a frustrated white man who is a former police officer, member of the military or police 'wannabe' who seeks to become a hero."12

The day the AJC's initial story appeared, most newspapers and television stations followed suit, prominently featuring the story and turning it into one of the most widely reported stories in the country. It is worth noting that the New York Times only ran a small story buried in the national section, and the Wall Street Journal limited its coverage to one small paragraph as part of its general news overview. 13

After its first story, the AJC began citing anonymous sources within the FBI or other areas of law enforcement. Though the AJC lacked independent verification of claims by these sources, it persisted in labeling Jewell the "lone bomber" or "hero bomber," as he was called in other articles. 14

Indeed, in the seven years since the story was published, some have questioned whether the hero bomber profile cited by the AJC exists at all. Marie Brenner, in herVanity Fair article on Jewell, noted that Colonel Robert Ressler, former head of the FBI's behavioral science unit and author of the FBI criminal classification manual, has since questioned both the existence of this profile and the intent of those at the AJC who cited it. According to Ressler, "There is no such classification as the hero bomber ... it was a myth." Ressler has also asked: "[W]here did they get the information to put the profile together that fast? Was the so-called profile actually developed from the circumstances, or was it invented for Richard Jewell?" 15

According to L. Lin Wood, Jewell's attorney, FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy confirmed in a 1999 affidavit that, as of December 1996, the FBI had not developed a profile of the Olympic park bomber. Kennedy explained that the FBI could not create a profile in 1996 because no one knew the bomber's motive.16

Ron Martz has since testified in a deposition that he never knew if there actually was a profile, but assumed there was without ever asking his source to be sure.17 Additionally, Martz's primary source for the story was probably not a member of the FBI. Then-managing editor John Walter confirmed in a 1996 internal investigation of the AJC's coverage of Jewell that Martz relied on a member of the Atlanta Police Department for information about the FBI investigation.18

In fact, Martz testified that when he wrote the story he confirmed it with a single "federal source," asking only if the article contained any information the source knew to be inaccurate and if publication of the article would hinder the investigation. 19 The source said only that the headline seemed a bit strong. 20 Martz did not ask for any direct confirmation of the profile or other details, and the story ran unaltered. 21

Kathy Scruggs and Ron Martz collaborated again on a July 31 front-page story in which they reiterated that Jewell fit the "lone bomber" profile and that, "investigators...believe he placed the 911 call himself." 22 But the real story was that Jewell never could have made that call, and reporters should have had all the information needed to determine that fact. For example, on the July 30 broadcast of Nightline, reporter Mark Potter noted a three-minute difference between the time when Jewell reported the knapsack and when the 911 call was received: "[S]o there is a problem there, in assuming that he could have made the call and come back and the-the pay phone was two blocks away, a five-minute walk. In that scenario, it just doesn't work." 23

In a July 31 story by Ron Martz, even the headline implied a possible motive for Jewell: "A motive? Most seek, glory, power or revenge." According to Martz, "There have been other recent incidents in which a person initially portrayed as a hero turned out to be the culprit." 24

An August 1 story by Maria Elena Fernandez focused on comments from several college students in the Clarksville area where Jewell once worked as a security guard at Piedmont College. In it, those interviewed characterized Jewell as "macho and ...[b]elligerent," "out of line," "overzealous," "a loner and gun enthusiast," and finally, "in need of some form of mental health treatment." 25 The Fernandez story on college students' observations of Jewell's character mirrored other AJC stories that implied Jewell's guilt without hard evidence.

Finally, publication of Dave Kindred's August 1 column, "A long wait in the shadows after his moment in the sun," alluded to Jewell's guilt. The premise of the feature was a comparison of Jewell with the famous convicted murderer, Wayne Williams. Kindred wrote:

Once upon a terrible time, federal agents came to this town to deal with another suspect who lived with his mother. Like this one, that suspect was drawn to the blue lights and sirens of police work. Like this one, he became famous in the aftermath of murder. His name was Wayne Williams. This one is Richard Jewell. 26

In his conclusion, Kindred implied that Jewell would likely suffer the fate of Williams. He wrote, "Richard Jewell sits in the shadows today...Wayne Williams sits in prison forever." 27

In spite of law enforcement's preliminary and speculative interest in Jewell, reporters delved deeply into Jewell's personal life. Deni Elliott, an ethics professor at the University of Montana, as quoted by Alicia Shepard in the October 1996 American Journalism Review, remarked, "Unless news organizations can provide some good reason why we need to have this information, which is a violation of his privacy, at this stage it's illegitimate to give (it) out." 28 In special circumstances, journalists might be justified in piecing together motives and circumstantial evidence from a suspected murderer's personal life, perhaps to cast doubt on the police's theory or to help catch a serial killer whose guilt has been supported by evidence. In this case, however, the FBI had just begun its investigation, and there was no hard evidence. Furthermore, there was no overriding public need to know personal details about Jewell. As Ted Gup, a journalism professor at Case Western Reserve University, noted in a Washington Post column, "Our better selves know that publication of leads too flimsy to produce indictments promotes neither public understanding nor public safety." 29

Another Ron Martz article on July 31, "Security industry has been plagued by crime: Process of screening guards in question," described Jewell as a "nightmare" for the industry. 30 The story implied that Jewell's involvement in the "crime" was detrimental to the security profession.

The AJC was so focused on Jewell-his personal life, employment history, and possible motives for the bombing-that it neglected to take a critical look at investigators and the investigation. While reporting off-the-record tips about profiles, AJC journalists failed to report that the FBI found no physical evidence in Jewell's apartment, leaving little chance of an indictment. 31 A quick glance at the FBI's search warrant application would have also revealed that their case was premised almost entirely on a short list of associates and speculation about Jewell's involvement based on his personality, supposedly abnormal behavior on the day of the bombing, and some minor differences between Jewell's account of the bombing and his actions on tape. 32 In spite of this, the AJC continued to imply that charges would be filed any day.

If the AJC had more closely scrutinized the FBI's investigation of Jewell, the AJC would have uncovered a series of abuses and deceptions that could have made for an excellent story and fulfilled another tenet of the SPJ Code of Ethics: "Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable." 33 For example, one deceptive incident occurred when two FBI agents asked Jewell to accompany them to headquarters where they said they needed to tape an interview with him for a training video on the identification of suspicious packages. Soon after they began the questioning, they asked him to sign a rights waiver form. Realizing it was a ploy, Jewell demanded to speak with his attorney, who told him to leave immediately. The agents involved were later censured and briefly suspended. Eventually, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno issued an apology to Jewell for the agents' deceit. Jewell later told the story to Vanity Fair. 34

In addition to critically assessing the investigation, the AJC could have achieved greater balance in its coverage by interviewing people who had good experiences with Jewell, reconstructing Jewell's alibi and alternate theories explaining the bombing, publishing more information on leads aside from Jewell, and putting more pressure on the authorities to produce solid evidence. These additional measures could have helped the AJC to meet its ethical obligation in covering Richard Jewell, the suspect.

A Public or Private Life?

Richard Jewell did not passively accept the treatment he received in the media. Shortly after the FBI dropped him from the suspect list in October 1996, he filed defamation lawsuits against NBC, The New York Post, ABC, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others. Every organization was quick to settle, except one: the AJC. They refused to admit any wrongdoing, saying their coverage was accurate and justified. The resulting case, Jewell v. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, hinged on the legal distinction between public and private figures. A private citizen has a right to the greatest level of privacy, while a public figure, such as a celebrity or politician, must accept the least. Therefore, proving a public figure has been defamed requires evidence of actual malice, a willful attempt to cause harm or publish false statements, and a reckless disregard for the truth. Proving someone's intent is notoriously difficult and, in most cases, requires self-incrimination. Private citizens, however, need only prove negligence in the publication of false statements.

The AJC claimed that Jewell was a public figure. Jewell, of course, disagreed. Thus, the Fulton County court was charged with determining whether Jewell, through his public role as the heroic Centennial Park security guard, became a public figure. The AJC looked to the case of Gertz v. Robert Welch, the definitive case on how a private citizen becomes a public figure for purposes of defamation, which held:

Those who, by reason of the notoriety of their achievements or the vigor and success with which they seek the public's attention, are properly classified as public figures ... More commonly, those classed as public figures have thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved. 35

The court had to determine whether Jewell had "thrust" himself to the "forefront" of the bombing controversy. The court determined that the extreme publicity of the event and the numerous interviews Jewell granted the media when still a "hero" made him a public figure. In its decision, the court also cited Jewell's ability to influence public opinion about park safety. 36

Jewell appealed this ruling to the Georgia Court of Appeals which, in upholding the lower court's ruling, said, "While no magical number of media appearances is required to render a citizen a public figure, Jewell's participation in the public discussion of the bombing exceeds what has been deemed sufficient to render other citizens public figures."37 However, this conclusion assumed that Jewell himself sought, or even wanted, the interviews and attention, when it was actually Bryant Stelle, an AT&T public relations spokesperson, who set up all the interviews and convinced a reluctant Jewell to participate. 38 It was not Jewell, but his employer, AT&T, that wanted the attention. According to James Collins' Time magazine piece on Jewell, Stelle said, "From the time I spent with him...I saw no evidence" of Jewell's interest in attention. 39

It is worth noting that this detail was incorrectly reported by the AJC. A July 30 story by Kent Walker ran with the headline, "Bomb suspect had sought limelight, press interviews." 40 And Kathy Scruggs wrote a story the same day that said, "He [Jewell] also has approached newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, seeking publicity for his actions." In fact, it was not Jewell but the AT&T public relations representative who "approached" them "seeking publicity." 41

However, the Georgia Court of Appeals recognized the possibility that Jewell had not wanted the attention he gained. The Court held, "It is no answer to the assertion that one is a public figure to say, truthfully, that one doesn't choose to be." 42 Stretching public figure status to a new breadth, the court ruled:

...occasionally, someone is caught up in the controversy involuntarily and, against his will, assumes a prominent position in its outcome. Unless he rejects any role in the debate, he too has "invited comment" relating to the issue at hand. 43

Thus, in ruling against Jewell, the Court decided that a private citizen's intent is effectively irrelevant in achieving public figure status.

The AJC and much of the journalism establishment applauded this ruling in spite of their reliance upon citizens to speak publicly about events of public interest. During the first days after the bombing, Jewell performed a crucial task by conveying information and an eyewitness account the public craved amid the fear and confusion. In exchange for his heroism and public service, he lost his right to privacy. As this precedent becomes better known, it could silence the very sources upon whom the media depend.

Still, Jewell's legal case for private figure status is problematic. It cannot be practically disputed that Jewell entered the public sphere by consistently appearing on far-reaching media outlets as a hero and authority in the bombing. Furthermore, according to the appellate court judge, the bulk of defamation precedent supports the Georgia Court of Appeals' ruling.44 The Georgia Supreme Court, and later, the U.S. Supreme Court, both chose not to hear Jewell's appeal of the Georgia Court of Appeals' ruling. 45

Yet the 2001 Georgia Court of Appeals' verdict did not end Jewell's pursuit of vindication. The case was remanded to the State Court of Fulton County for retrial with instructions that Jewell's argument would have to pass a demanding libel test. In reality, it will be difficult for Jewell to prove that the AJC reported with actual malice-defined as "knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of the truth"-as required by the U.S. Supreme Court's libel standard for public figures.46 William Lee, a libel law expert at the University of Georgia, noted: "Mr. Jewell's biggest complaints are that he was mistreated, that his reputation has been damaged and that his life has been turned upside down. Unfortunately, that's not a law violation in the United States." 47

Oral arguments were heard on July 25, 2003, in Jewell's pretrial motion for an order requiring the AJC to disclose its confidential sources. A ruling is forthcoming.48 However, Jewell's attorney notes that only about one-third of the source quotes were confidential, so regardless of the ruling on this motion, Jewell will continue to litigate the case. 49

Postscript: The End of an Ordeal

Under suspicion and hounded by the media, Richard Jewell was a virtual prisoner in his own home, 50 until the FBI removed him from their list of suspects, citing a lack of evidence.51 "For 88 days," recalled Jewell, "I lived a nightmare. My mother lived a nightmare, too."52

However, for Jewell, the ordeal was just beginning. Forever linked to the Olympic Park bombing, Jewell fought hard for compensation from the media, and a return to a life something like the one he lived before the investigation. Settlement of Jewell's lawsuits generated several million dollars-$500,000 from NBC is the only exact figure reported-much of which went to legal fees, and it took him months to find a job.53 "Nobody would touch me after the Olympics," he said. "I was damaged goods."54 Roughly 20 law enforcement agencies rejected his application for employment.55 He currently works for a police department in a small town north of Atlanta.56

In their obsessive search for evidence to convict Jewell, the FBI failed to apprehend a more likely suspect who, it appears, went on to strike three more times in the next two years. The accused serial bomber, Eric Rudolph, was charged in October 1998 with the Olympic park bombing. Rudolph was also subsequently charged with three other bombings; the 1997 bombings at a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic in Atlanta, and the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed a police officer and left a nurse severely wounded.57 In hiding since 1998, Rudolph was finally captured on May 31, 2003, having ascended to the top of the FBI's most-wanted list.58

Subsequent coverage of Jewell's removal from the list of suspects made up only a fraction of the frenzy that had surrounded his being named a suspect. Furthermore, though his efforts to evacuate the area likely saved more than 100 people that day, he received no recognition for his heroism. Instead, some may forever view Jewell, the "hero bomber," with suspicion.59

Smith and Goodwin, in Groping for Ethics in Journalism, cite the Richard Jewell story as a cautionary tale, a reminder of the need for restraint when temptation is greatest, and for skepticism even when guilt seems apparent.60

Though the Georgia Appeals Court determined that the AJC's coverage of Jewell was legally defensible, legality is no substitute for ethics. It is not adherence to the law, but dedication to ethics that is the ultimate test of a newspaper's integrity. Legally, the AJC may have been permitted to effectively put Jewell on trial when he was merely a suspect. Legally, the AJC may have been allowed to treat this private citizen as a public figure. But was it the right thing to do? In the frenzy to stay in front of the pack, the editors and reporters of the AJC stopped asking themselves that simple, yet all-important question.


1 Congress, Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information. Hearings on Information Leaks and the Atlanta Olympics Bombing Investigation, testimony by Steve Geimann, president, Society of Professional Journalists, 19 December 1996.

2 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, et al. v Jewell; Jewell v. Cox Enterprises, Inc, et al., 251 Ga. App. 808 (10 October 2001).

3 Kathy Scruggs and Ron Martz, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb," Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 30 July 1996, 1(X).

4 Ibid.

5 Peter Applebome, "A Story Where the Telling Itself Has Raised Many Questions," The New York Times, 27 October 1996, 7(B).

6 Ron Smith and Gene Goodwin, Groping for Ethics in Journalism, 3d. ed. (Ames, Iowa: Iowa University Press, 1999), 151-152.

7 Ibid.

8 Bob Steele, Keith Woods, and Joann Byrd, "Journalists and Jewell: Teaching Old Watchdogs the Right Tricks," Poynteronline; accessed online 24 May 2003; available from content_ view.asp?id=5552

9 Lou Gelfand, "Atlanta editor talks about naming bombing suspect," Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11 August 1996, 22(A).

10 Society of Professional Journalists, "Code Of Ethics;" accessed online 23 May 2003; available from

11 Scruggs and Martz, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1(X).

12 Scruggs and Martz, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1(X).

13 Rem Rieder, "Just Say No," American Journalism Review, October 1996, 6.

14 Scruggs and Martz, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1(X).

15 Marie Brenner, "American Nightmare-The Ballad of Richard Jewell," Vanity Fair, February 1997.

16 Richard Jewell brief, submitted to the State Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia, Civil Action File No. 97 VS-0122804-G, Richard Jewell v. Cox Enterprises, Inc., et al., 24 July 2003, 7.

17 Jewell brief, 6.

18 Jewell brief, 30.

19 Jewell brief, 31.

20 Jewell brief, 32.

21 Jewell brief, 6.

22 Kathy Scruggs and Ron Martz, "'Hero' denies planting bomb: FBI interviews security guard in blast probe," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 31 July 1996, 1(A).

23 Nightline (ABC), July 30, 1996 (AJC App. II at 36, p. 4).

24 Ron Martz, "A motive? Most seek glory, power or revenge," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 31 July 1996, 10(A).

25 Maria Elena Fernandez, "Police work 'was his life': Some in North Georgia town say Jewell 'was on a power kick,'" Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 August 1996, 15(A).

26 Dave Kindred, "The Scene on Buford Highway: Dave Kindred at Large: A long wait in the shadows after his moment in the sun," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 August 1996, 14(A).

27 Ibid.

28 Alicia C. Shepard, "Going to Extremes," American Journalism Review, October 1996, 38.

29 Ted Gup, "Gotcha; You May or May Not Be a Suspect, But You Will Be All Over the News," The Washington Post, 18 August 2002, 1(B).

30 Ron Martz, "Security industry has been plagued by crime: Process of screening guards in question," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 31 July 1996, 11(A).

31 FBI application and affidavits presented for a search warrant, 30 July 1996, accessed online 23 May 2003; available from http://courttv

32 Ibid.

33 Society of Professional Journalists, "Code Of Ethics"; accessed online 23 May 2003; available from

34 Brenner, "American Nightmare," ibid.; Kevin Sack, "The Richard A. Jewell Inquiry," The New York Times, 28 October 1996, 1(A).

35 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, et al. v Jewell; Jewell v. Cox Enterprises, Inc., et al., 251 Ga. App. 808 (10 October 2001).

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid.

38 Collins, "The Strange Saga of Richard Jewell," Time, 11 November 1996.

39 Ibid.

40 Kent Walker, "Bomb suspect had sought limelight, press interviews," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 30 July 1996, 3(X).

41 Kathy Scruggs, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 30 July 1996, 1(X).

42 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, et al. v. Jewell; Jewell v. Cox Enterprises, Inc., et al., 251 Ga. App. 808 (10 October 2001).

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

45 Jay Croft, "State high court won't hear Jewell's appeal," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12 February 2002, 5(B); Bill Torpy, "Supreme Court refuses to hear Jewell libel case," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8 October 2002, 6(B).

46 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)

47 Mark Curriden, "Cleared suspect's suit against newspaper called long shot," American Bar Association Journal, 83 (January 1997) 20.

48 Jay Croft, "Jewell, AJC argue over lawsuit," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 25 July 2003, 3(D).

49 L. Lin Wood, Atlanta, telephone interview by author, 2 September 2003.

50 Rupert Cornwell Washington, "Olympic bomb attack suspect's '88 days of hell,'" The (London) Independent, 29 October 1996, 11(international).

51 Bill Rankin, "Jewell is cleared in bomb case; No longer a 'target,' feds say," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 27 October 1996, 1(A).

52 See note 50.

53 Kevin Sack, "A Man Cleared, but Not His Name." The New York Times 26 July 1997, 6(1).

54 Sara Corbett, "Nine One One," Esquire, November 1998.

55 Kevin Sack, ibid.

56 See note 49.

57 Don Plummer, "The Search for Eric Rudolph: FBI keeps watch over suspect's mountain home," Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 26 January 2002 (10A).

58 David M. Halbfinger, "Olympic Bombing Suspect Arrested in North Carolina," New York Times; accessed online 31 May, 2003; available from

59 See Corbett and Brenner for discussion of the evidence of Jewell's heroism.

60 Smith and Goodwin, Groping for Ethics in Journalism, 152.

* Nathan Tobey is a graduate student in history and journalism at Emory University. He recently worked in the editorial department of the New Jersey Law Journal and has worked as a reporter for the South African Broadasting Corporation. His E-mail is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The above article was published in Media Ethics , Fall 2003 (15:1), pp. 17,38-41.