If life were a Monopoly game, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada just rounded the Free Parking corner -- the next roll might put them in jail. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Earlier this week, Judge Jeffrey White of the local federal district court ordered the Chronicle's sports reporters who broke the BALCO story to testify before a grand jury which is investigating how the BALCO grand jury's testimony got leaked to the press in the first place. Judge White indicated (.pdf) that he was stuck with the Ninth Circuit's rulings that reporters are not shielded from grand jury subpoenas under federal law. The Chron is appealing the ruling, says the reporters won't testify, and vows to take it to the Supreme Court if they have to. If they don't testify, they could be sent to jail for contempt of court.
Editor and Publisher magazine notes that a contempt ruling would hit the Chron pretty hard -- Williams and Fainaru-Wada are currently 2/3rd of the entire Chron investigations team (of the team of five, one person is out writing a book, and another is out on maternity leave), so if the two of them head out to the pokey, the only person left doing investigations for the paper will be Susan Sward. Well, there's always room for more Matier and Ross, we always say. (Or maybe they'll move the "Master Cleanse blog" to the paper itself. This is off topic, but is anyone else enjoying how the Master Cleanse blogger's posts are getting shorter and shorter as her fast goes on?)
Speaking of guilty blogging pleasures, we're also enjoying Randy Shaw's anti-Chron blog Beyond Chron's fine-toothed comb attempts to distinguish between anarchist videojournalist Josh Wolf (whom he considers a freedom fighter) and Williams and Fainaru-Wada (whom he does not support, because sports reporting is silly). Aw, come on, Randy! You're the guy who wrote the long post about what's wrong with SF Sports (the progressive point of view).