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370 october 5_Libel and Op Ed

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370 october 5_Libel and Op Ed

  1. 1. JOURNALISM  370   OCTOBER  5,2011  AVOIDING  LAWSUITS  AND     WRITING  AN  OP  ED    
  2. 2. BLOGS  OF  THE  WEEK  •  h@p://blogs.hbr.org/  •  h@p://pewresearch.org/  
  3. 3. THOUGHTS  ON  MEDIA  ADVISORY    •  WriQng  More  Crisp  •  Don’t  be  afraid  to  ask  quesQons   –  The  material  you’re  given  for  a  project  can  o^en   be  insufficient  to  complete  the  work.   –  You  have  to  fill  those  gaps.  •  This  is  an  invitaQon   –  Your  a@enQon  to  detail  is  good.   –  Watch  going  over  the  top.  
  4. 4. LET’S  AVOID  A  LAWSUIT  
  5. 5. HOW  CAN  YOU  GET  SUED  •  WriQng  misleading  press  releases    •  Making  misleading  or  false  product/service   claims    •  CreaQng  front  groups    •  Insider  trading    •  Invasion  of  privacy    •  MisrepresenQng  earnings    •  Conspiracy  
  6. 6. REAL  WORLD  BACKGROUND  I  WISH     I  KNEW  WHEN  I  WAS  IN  SCHOOL  •  The  key  is  avoiding  lawsuits.  •  You  may  be  legally  correct.  It  might  not  ma@er.  •  Lawsuits  are  costly…even  if  you  win.  •  Waivers  are  your  friend.  •  Wri@en  correspondence  is  your  friend  •  When  in  doubt,  ask.  
  7. 7. Libel  and  DefamaQon  •  Here’s  how  you  prove  it.   –  Statement  was  broadcast  or  published.   –  You  can  ID  who  wrote  it.   –  Actual  injury  occurred…that  includes  losing  cash.   –  Publisher  was  negligent  or  acted  with  malice.      
  8. 8. Libel  and  DefamaQon  •  Different  proofs  required  for  “public  figures”  •  CorporaQons  are  considered  public  figures  •  Truth  is  defense  against  defamaQon  charge  
  9. 9. FAIR  COMMENT…   GET  OUT  OF  TROUBLE  CARD  •  Opinions  are  protected  as  long  as  criQcism  is   done  with  honest  intenQon  and  a  lack  of   malice.    •  Protects  criQcal  comments  of  execuQves  •  Protect  yourself  when  wriQng  criQcism   –  Accompany  opinion  with  facts  on  which  it’s  based.   –  A@ribute  quoted  opinion  to  an  individual   –  Review  context  of  surrounding  language  for   defamaQon  
  10. 10. AVOIDING  DEFAMATION  SUITS  •  #1  rule:  Watch  your  language    •  Choose  innocuous  language  when  talking   about  personnel  issues     –  We  wish  them  well  in  their  future  endeavors.  •  Avoid  unfla@ering  representaQons  of   compeQtors  
  11. 11. INVASION  OF  PRIVACY  •  Employees  don’t  waive  their  right  to  privacy  •  Employee  newsle@ers   –  Avoid  anything  that  might  embarrass  employees   –  Focus  on  organizaQon-­‐related  acQviQes  •  Photos  of  employees     –  Implied  consent  for  “news”  use,  not  promoQon   –  Maintain  photo  records  
  12. 12. INVASION  OF  PRIVACY  •  Use  of  photos/quotes  in  publicity  or  adverQsing   –  Need  signed  consent  to  use  photos  or  quotes  in  promoQonal   materials    •  Media  inquiries  about  employees   –  Only  provide  confirmaQon  of  employment,  Qtle  and  job   descripQon,  date  of  employment  beginning  and  end   –  Don’t  provide  address,  marital  status,  number  of  kids,  job   performance  or  salary   –  Serve  as  liaison  between  reporter  and  employee  •  Employee  blogs     –  Prohibit  comments  about  other  employees  and  confidenQal   product  informaQon     –  Employee  guidelines  for  virtual  online  communiQes  
  13. 13. COPYRIGHT  LAW  •  ProtecQon  of  “fixed”  works  in  any  “tangible   medium.”  Yes,  this  includes  digital.    •  Work  is  automaQcally  copyrighted  the   moment  it  is  “fixed.”    •  Work  can  be  formally  copyrighted  through   Library  of  Congress,  but  registraQon  isn’t   required  for  protecQon    
  14. 14. COPYRIGHT  LAW   HOW  TO  BE  SAFE  •  Fair  use  allows  you  to  quote  part  of  a   copyrighted  arQcle,  but  brief  enough  not  to   harm  the  original  work  •  Social  Media  makes  this  an  evolving  jungle.  •  When  in  doubt,  ask.  •  When  in  doubt,  have  a  waiver.  
  15. 15. COPYRIGHT  LAW   HOW  TO  BE  SAFE  •  You  can’t  copyright  ideas.  •  You  can  copyright  the  expression  of  those   ideas.  •  Copyright  your  PR  content.  That’s  why  you   hire  lawyers.  
  16. 16. COPYRIGHT  LAW  •  Fair  use   –  A@ributed  quoted  material  that  is  brief  compared  to   the  enQre  work     –  Permission  required  when  used  for  promoQon.  •  Photography     –  Photographers  retain  ownership  of  their  work   –  NegoQate  use  carefully    •  Work  for  hire   –  When  working  as  an  employee,  copyright  belongs  to   organizaQon    •  Digital  material  protected  by  copyright  
  17. 17. TRADEMARK  •  Trademark  is  a  word,  symbol,  or  slogan   idenQfying  a  product    •  Trademarks  are  proper  adjecQves    •  Trademarks  should  not  be  pluralized  or  used   as  verbs    •  PR  plays  an  important  role  in  protecQng   trademarks  •  Unauthorized  use  of  celebriQes  is   misappropriaQon  of  personality.  
  18. 18. LET’S  AVOID  A  LAWSUIT  •  You’re  doing  PR  for  Costco.    •  The  VP  has  just  been  fired  for  embezzling   money.  •  The  media  calls  you  asking  for  informaQon.  •  What  can  you  tell  them?  
  19. 19. LET’S  TALK  OP  ED    
  20. 20. WHY  WRITE  ONE?    •  Allow  PR  to  reach  opinion  leaders    •  Op-­‐ed  authors  are  perceived  as  experts  on  the   issue    •  Op-­‐eds  are  exclusives     OP-­‐eds  are  controlled  media.     This  is  rare  in  media  rela4ons  and  publicity  
  21. 21. WHY  WRITE  ONE?  •  These  can  talk  about  policy.  •  These  can  promote  events  more  blatantly.  •  You’re  worried  the  reporter  will  screw  the   story  up.   OP-­‐eds  are  controlled  media.     This  is  rare  in  media  rela4ons  and  publicity  
  22. 22. OP  ED  IDEAS  •  750  words  max  for  an  op  ed.  •  You  need  to  have  one  main  idea.  •  Hit  it  early,  and  don’t  veer  off  course.  •  Short  powerful  sentences  •  You  need  facts  to  verify  your  claims.  
  23. 23. OP  ED  IDEAS  •  Don’t  say,  “I  think.”  State  it.     –  I  thinks  this  is  a  bad  idea.   –  This  is  a  bad  idea.  •  Don’t  send  out  op  eds  in  bulk.  •  Do  call  an  editor  to  see  if  a  paper  takes  them.    
  24. 24. LETTER  TO  THE  EDITOR  DIFFERENCES  •  They  are  shorter  (200-­‐500  words)  •  You  react  to  news  and  should  state  what   sparked  the  le@er.  •  State  the  theme  of  your  le@er  a^er  saying  why   you  are  wriQng  •  A  le@er  to  the  editor  is  a  counter  punch.  An   Op  ed  can  be  an  a@acking  punch.  
  25. 25. OP  ED   A  GOOD  WAY  TO  FORMAT  What  is  the  problem?  What  is  your  opinion  on  the  problem?  What  is  your  supporQng  informaQon?  What  is  the  soluQon?  Why  should  the  reader  care?  
  26. 26. OD  ED   ROOM  TO  BE  BETTER  •  Hit  harder.  •  Short,  choppy  sentences.   –  This  is  wrong.   –  We  can  do  be@er.    •   A  le@er  to  the  editor  should  be  a  slap  in  the   face  and  call  to  acQon.  
  27. 27. OP  ED   ROOM  TO  BE  BETTER  •  In  terms  of  subject  ma@er,  think  beyond  your   organizaQon.   –  We  are  worried  about  rising  energy  and  food   prices.   –  Buying  local  saves  money.   –  It  protects  jobs.   –  Our  client  helps  in  both  areas.  •  You  can’t  do  this  if  you  don’t  follow  current   events.  
  28. 28. ASSIGNMENT  UPDATE  •  Your  Feature  was  due  Monday  at  the  start  of   class  .  •  It  is  now  due  one  week  from  today,  October  12,   at  5  p.m.  •  So  too  is  your  op-­‐ed  and  third  reading  memo.  •  Plan  accordingly.  •  To  help,  October  12  is  a  working  class.   –  Doors  are  open,  but  there  is  no  class.     –  I  am  available  via  Skype  at  dan.farkas1  to  take   quesQons  from  1-­‐5.    
  29. 29. ASSIGNMENT  UPDATE  •  Your  feature  will  be  graded  based  on  the  class   discussion  we  had  Monday.  •  Your  op  ed  will  be  graded  based  on  the  class   discussion  we  had  today.    •  Monday,  we  will  review  the  news  release  and   fact  sheet.  

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