Intro to Press Law and Ethics

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Intro to Press Law and Ethics

  1. 1. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism Press Law & Ethics: What Journalists Can and Can’t/Should and Shouldn’t DoFALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  2. 2. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism What journalists can do. •Print the truth. (The big umbrella.) •Accurately report slanderous, libelous comments made by others. •Publish critical opinions (but not on news pages). •Protect the identity of sources (in most cases). •Use others’ words--enclosed in quotation marks and properly attributed.FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  3. 3. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism What journalists can’t do. •Make stuff up. •Knowingly write and print untruths. •Print untruths due to carelessness or negligence. •Report stuff that you agreed was “off the record.” •Tape conversations without interviewee’s permission. •Use others’ words without enclosing them in quotation marks and attributing them. •Steal information or acquire it by deception.FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  4. 4. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism What journalists should do. •Double-check facts. Write nothing that you aren’t sure is true. •Put yourself in your subject’s shoes. What would you want to have published about you? •Cover the diversity of your community and readership. •Avoid stereotypes.FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  5. 5. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism What journalists shouldn’t do. •Accept any gifts or favors from subjects of stories. •Write about subjects with which you have even indirect connections. •Print stories about persons who haven’t been contacted and asked for their side. •Offend your readership by unnecessarily printing tasteless or vulgar words or images. •Make mistakes. One of the worst? Misspelling a name.FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  6. 6. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism What constitutes libel? •Libelous statements must be false. •Libelous statements must be defamatory. •Libelous statements must be published. •Plaintiffs must be identifiable. •The statement must be the result of negligence or malice (knowing you’re lying or disregarding the truth). See Harrower 144-45FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR
  7. 7. cm 1 35 l an introduction to journalism The SPJ Code of Ethics •Seek truth and report it. •Minimize harm. •Act independently. •Be accountable. See Harrower 153FALL 2012 B RUCE C LARY , I NSTRUCTOR

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