Yesterday on NPR I heard the story of Vanessa Leggett, a Houston writer who is currently imprisoned for contempt of court because she won’t turn over the notes for a book she’s writing to the U.S. Attorney in a racketeering case (that stems from a murder case that the government lost). Her case is interesting because the Justice Department refused to grant her first amendment rights as a “journalist” because she hasn’t been published by a major corporate media outlet (her book on the murder has not yet been completed). Originally they argued that she hadn’t been published at all, but it turns out she had edited a publication for the Justice Department itself. Needless to say, independent journalists have many reasons to fear what happened to Ms. Leggett if the court refuses to agree that she is not owed the same rights that a reporter for the New York Times or Newsweek is granted. (You can also listen to the NPR story using RealAudio.)