Press Rights

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COM 135 Introduction to Journalism

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Press Rights

  1. 1. Press Rights
  2. 2. Today’s Concepts
  3. 3. Press Rights• Privilege – Fair report – Opinion – Fair comment and criticism• Freedom from Newsroom Searches – Unless you’re suspected of involvement in a crime, destruction of evidence, or someone could be hurt » Harrower P. 140
  4. 4. Press Rights• Shield Laws – Allow reporters to protect, “shield” their confidential sources and notes; only in 34 (32?) states; no federal courts have shield laws, meaning, reporters choose between revealing their sources or going to jail. (Example: Judith Miller of the NYTimes) Harrower p.140
  5. 5. • Three key areas: – Open courtrooms – Open meetings – Open records Harrower p.141
  6. 6. Harrower p.141
  7. 7. Harrower p.141
  8. 8. • Open Records – Key questions: – Material such as defense secrets, medical files, and sensitive law-enforcement data are exempt. Who categorizes the information? – Reporters can file a FOIA Request – Freedom of Information Act Harrower p.141
  9. 9. • Examples of news stories stemming from FOIA requests: – New York Daily News exposes government’s misrepresentation of “Ground Zero” environmental contamination – Dayton Daily News identifies most dangerous workplaces in the country – The money trail: mismanagement of funds for Hurricane Katrina victims (various media) » Source: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  10. 10. • “Although FOIA is an important source of information, reporters should recognize its limitations. Information obtained through a FOIA request is rarely the story itself. Rather, it can be used to verify other sources and information. Sometimes information obtained from a request can simply identify leads or sources for a story that the reporter later can follow up on in person.” » Source: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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