But death penalty opponents aren't worried that the decreasing number of papers will undermine quality journalism or inhibit the proliferation of ideas. Death penalty opponents are complaining because they are finding it more difficult to enlist reporters as active members of their cause. Entirely aside from manpower questions, there is the question whether reporters ought to be doing that in the first place.
Some news organizations are reluctant to join the effort out of fear of blurring the line between advocate and objective collector of the news. "My feeling always was we should do it on our own," said Maurice Possley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote many death penalty and wrongful convictions stories while a reporter for The Chicago Tribune.
Mr. Possley, who left The Tribune last year, had discussions with Mr. Scheck about the paper becoming involved as a plaintiff in the Jones case. "I think the more you link up, people will think you have a bias or an agenda," Mr. Possley said.