Notes on the Media

Clinton's likely FCC choice

A Senate aide who helped draft legislation tightening control over cable television is President Clinton's likely choice to head the Federal Communications Commission, a senior administration official said.

Background checks have been completed, so all that remains is for Clinton to sign off on Antoinette Cook's nomination and that is expected soon, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was in Portland, Ore., with President Clinton for a forest conference.

Ms. Cook, staff counsel to the Senate Commerce subcommittee on communications, was instrumental in pushing legislation through Congress last year bringing the cable TV industry back under federal control. She would be the first woman and the first black to head the agency. Florida passes press `shield' law

The Florida Legislature has passed a bill giving news reporters the right to keep news sources confidential, even in court. The bill was among dozens of measures quietly approved during the rush to finish nonbudgetary business late April 2. It was sent to Gov. Lawton Chiles, who in the past has indicated he did not believe reporters should be given special rights.

The shield bill was introduced after the United States Supreme Court in January refused to hear an appeal from Tim Roche, a former Stuart News reporter.

Mr. Roche was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 1990 for refusing to divulge the name of a source who gave him a sealed court document in a child custody case. Roche, now a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, was released from jail April 1, 11 days early because of good behavior.

The United States Supreme Court has refused to recognize the right of reporters to protect sources as part of the freedom of the press. A number of other states have offered the protection through shield laws.

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