From The Herald-Bulletin (Anderson):
Q: We’re reviewing our policy on keeping/destroying reporters’ notes. From a legal standpoint, what would you suggest?
A: The answer can depend on the nature of the story. Reporters generally should keep notes only as long as they expect to refer to them and should regularly clean out their note files after publication.
You can’t surrender under subpoena what you no longer possess.
Of course, this can get dicey if the notes were kept on the paper’s computer. There may still be a trace file somewhere.
Answer courtesy of Bill Ketter, vice president of news for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.
Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at email@example.com or (317) 624-4427.