"As we all know, the news business is on a collective nervous breakdown," Toni Locy told a coalition of open-government and press groups. "It's time to stop running. It's time to turn and fight. If we don't fight for the First Amendment, who will?"
Locy, who now teaches journalism at West Virginia University, spoke at the annual convention of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
She said the country needs a shield law that would protect reporters from having to reveal their sources.
"The First Amendment needs some help," she said. "In this environment that we're in now, it needs some help."