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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

  1. 1. lcome to the world ofurnalism, whereporters have beengging dirt, raking muck,king headlines andadlines for centuriesw. It’s a history full ofbloid trash, of slimynsationalists, ofrunkards, deadbeats andmmers” (as a Harvardiversity president oncescribed reporters).But it’s a history full ofroes, too: men andmen risking their livestell stories of war andagedy, riskingprisonment to defendee speech. And as youn see here, reports havecome beloved charactersp culture, too, turning upmovies, comics and TVows as if guided by ancult hand.Every culture seekseffective ways to spreadnew information and gossip.In ancient times, news waswritten on clay tablets. InCaesar’s age, Romans readnewsletters compiled bycorrespondents andhandwritten by slaves.Wandering minstrels spreadnews (and the plague) in theMiddle Ages. Them cameink on paper. Voices onairwaves. Newsreels, Websites, And 24-hour cablenews networks.Thus when scholarsanalyze the rich history ofjournalism, some view it interms of technologicalprogress—for example, thedramatic impact ofbigger, faster printingpresses.Others see journalism asa specialized form literaryexpression, one that’sconstantlyevolving, reflecting andshaping its culture.Others see it as aninspiring quest for freespeech, an endless powerstruggle between Authority(trying to controlinformation) and the People(trying to learn the truth).Which brings to mind thewords of A.J. Liefling:“Freedom of the press isguaranteed only to htosewho own one.”In the pages ahead, we’lltake a quick tour of 600years of journalismhistory, from hieroglyphicsto hypertext: the media, themessage and the politics.Technical advances andbrilliant ideas forged a newstyle of journalism. It was acentury of change, andnewspapers changeddramatically. The typinewspaper of 1800 waundisciplined mishmalegislative proceedinglong-winded essays asecondhand gossip. B1900, a new breed oftor had emerged. Jourhad become big businReporting was becomdisciplined craft. Andnewspapers were becmore entertaining andessential than ever, wmost of the features wexpect today: Snappyheadlines, Ads, ComicSports pages. And an“inverted pyramid” stywriting that made storitighter and newsier.Radio and televisionbrought an end tonewspapers’ mediamonopoly. Why? Wellyourself: Which did yoLaw and ethicsInside ReportingTim Harrower7
  2. 2. Law & ethics2Copyright LawTaste and Decency(and Censorship)Journalistic EthicsPress RightsPress WrongsUnderstanding LibelInvasion of Privacy
  3. 3. Press rights3• Privileges andprotections forjournalisticactivities.• Access togovernmentoperations andrecords.Rights fall into two maincategories:
  4. 4. Press rights4 Fair report privilege Allows journalists toreport anything said inofficial governmentproceedings, even if whatis said turns out to beuntrue. Must be accurate andfair.Opinion privilegeProtects writtenopinions from libel suitDistinction betweenfacts and opinion.Privilege and protection for sources and stories
  5. 5. Press rights5 Allows journalists tocriticize performers,politicians and othermatters of publicinterest.Other rightsFreedom fromnewsroom searches.Shield laws.Fair comment and criticism
  6. 6. On April 28, 2007, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed amedia shield bill into law, making Washington the 32nd state witha statutory protection for journalists’ confidential sources and the13th state in which a journalist cannot be forced to reveal hisconfidential source’s identity under any circumstances.In addition, the Washington law protects journalists from havingto reveal any information obtained during newsgatheringactivities.What about WA?
  7. 7. Press rights7•Should bloggers beentitled to the same rightsand protections asmainstream media?A question to consider
  8. 8. Press rights8 Open courtroomsThe issues Does media coverage harmtrial defendants? Do cameras turncourtrooms into circuses? Should press be bannedfrom some trials?The law•U.S. Supreme Courtruled that criminal trialsmust remain open tothe media except for“overriding interest.”Journalistic access
  9. 9. Press rights9 Open recordsThe issues Should all governmentrecords be accessible tothe public? Who decides what is off-limits?The law•1966 Freedom ofInformation Act(FOIA)requires federalagencies to make mostof their recordsavailable.•Every state has ownversion of FOIAJournalistic access
  10. 10. 10 Stories that can get youjailed Contempt of court Trespassing SeditionStories that can getyou sued•Libel•Invasion of privacy•Breach of ContractPress wrongsReporter’s Guide to Trouble
  11. 11. 11 Stories that can getyou fired Plagiarism Fabrication Lapses in ethicsStories that can getyou angry phonecalls•Bias•Bad taste•Blunders and bloopersPress wrongsReporter’s Guide to Trouble
  12. 12. 12 Slander• Saying something aboutsomeone that can causeharm to their reputationLibel•Writing or publishingsomething about someonethat can harm theirreputation.Understanding libelTwo terms you need to know
  13. 13. 13 Accusing someone of a crime Damaging a person in his/her public office, profession oroccupation Accusing a person of serious immorality Accusing someone of having a loathsome diseaseUnderstanding defamationThere are four sure-fire ways to defamesomeone
  14. 14. 14 Who can sue for libel? Living people. Small groups. Who is it that gets sued? Usually, the publication.What is libel?•False statements and•Defamatory and•Published and•Identifiable plaintiffs and•Defendant must be atfault through negligenceor malice.Understanding libelBeginning reporter’s guide to libel
  15. 15. 15 Actual malice –knowingyou are lying ordisregarding the truth Negligence–not going toadequate lengths toensure reporting isaccurate Opinion– ideas that don’t claim tobe factual Slander– defamation that isspokenPublic official –someone who exercisespower or influence ingovernmental affairs.Public figure –person who has acquiredfame or notoriety.Understanding libelTerms to know
  16. 16. 16 How do I defend myself? Truth Privilege Fair Comment and CriticismHow can I avoid libel?•Verify material•Allow people to defendthemselves•Remember, publicofficials often make“unofficial” claims.•If you make amistake, correct it.Understanding libelBeginning reporter’s guide to libel
  17. 17. 17 Iowa supreme court – “Anyperformance to which thepublic is invited may befreely criticized.”Also, any editor may publishreasonable comments on thatperformance.”Understanding libelThe Cherry Sisters vs. “Fair Comment andCriticism
  18. 18. 18 False light Anything that portrayssomeone in an inaccuratewayAppropriation•Unauthorized useof someone’sname, photo orwords to endorseor sell a productor service.Understanding libelMost common ways to invade someone’sprivacy4
  19. 19. 19 Intrusion Trespass Secret surveillance MisrepresentationPublic disclosure ofprivate facts•Private•Intimate•OffensiveInvasion of privacyMost common ways to invade someone’sprivacy4
  20. 20. 20Expectation of privacyUnder what circumstances should peoplehave an expectation of privacy?
  21. 21. 21 What is copyright? What happens ifI plagiarize? Can I use excerpts fromcopyrighted material? Does “fair use” applywhen pulling this photofrom the web?What about usingcopyrighted photos andillustrations?I write for a small paper.Do big corporations reallycare if I use their material?Copyright lawA journalist’s guide to copyright
  22. 22. 22 FERPA• Family Educational Rightsand Privacy Act of 1974• Gives students access totheir records, allows themto amend these records,and allows them to controlaccess to• these records• Doesn’t apply to privatecolleges• Often misused byadministratorsHIPAA•Health InsurancePortability andAccountability Act of1996.•Designed to ensureworkers can continuehealth coverage whenchanging jobs, but alsohas an importantprovision concerningsecurity of medicalrecords.•Has a provision tofacilitate transfer b/wdoctors.Protected InformationTwo laws you need to know
  23. 23. 23 Vulgar language Offensive topics Conflict of interestLegal / ethicalissuesReporting flawsTaste and decency and censorshipReasons your storymight get spiked5
  24. 24. 24 Public colleges Student editors areentitled to control thecontent.Public high schools•Some guidelines, butlots of gray area.Taste and decency and censorshipStudent press law: How much can a schooladministrator censor?
  25. 25. 25Private colleges and highschools•Administrators can act like anyother publisher in controllingwhat’s printed.Taste and decency and censorshipStudent press law: How much can a schooladministrator censor?
  26. 26. 26 CensorshipRemoving a newspaper/Web posting after it hasbeen printed. Prior RestraintKeeping a story from beingpublishedTerms to know
  27. 27. lcome to the world ofurnalism, whereporters have beengging dirt, rakingmuck, king headlinesand adlines for centuriesw. It’s a history full ofbloid trash, of slimynsationalists, ofrunkards, deadbeats andmmers” (as a Harvardiversity president oncescribed reporters).But it’s a history full ofroes, too: men andmen risking their livestell stories of war andagedy, riskingprisonment to defendee speech. And as youn see here, reports havecome beloved charactersp culture, too, turning upmovies, comics and TVows as if guided by ancult hand.Every culture seekseffective ways to spreadnew information and gossip.In ancient times, news waswritten on clay tablets. InCaesar’s age, Romans readnewsletters compiled bycorrespondents andhandwritten by slaves.Wandering minstrels spreadnews (and the plague) in theMiddle Ages. Them cameink on paper. Voices onairwaves. Newsreels, Websites, And 24-hour cablenews networks.Thus when scholarsanalyze the rich history ofjournalism, some view it interms of technologicalprogress—for example, thedramatic impact ofbigger, faster printingpresses.Others see journalism asa specialized form literaryexpression, one that’sconstantlyevolving, reflecting andshaping its culture.Others see it as aninspiring quest for freespeech, an endless powerstruggle between Authority(trying to controlinformation) and the People(trying to learn the truth).Which brings to mind thewords of A.J. Liefling:“Freedom of the press isguaranteed only to htosewho own one.”In the pages ahead, we’lltake a quick tour of 600years of journalismhistory, from hieroglyphicsto hypertext: the media, themessage and the politics.Technical advances andbrilliant ideas forged a newstyle of journalism. It was acentury of change, andnewspapers changeddramatically. The typinewspaper of 1800 waundisciplined mishmalegislative proceedinglong-winded essays asecondhand gossip. B1900, a new breed oftor had emerged. Jourhad become big businReporting was becomdisciplined craft. Andnewspapers were becmore entertaining andessential than ever, wmost of the features wexpect today: Snappyheadlines, Ads, ComicSports pages. And an“inverted pyramid” stywriting that made storitighter and newsier.Radio and televisionbrought an end tonewspapers’ mediamonopoly. Why? Wellyourself: Which did yoLaw and ethicsInside ReportingTim Harrower7

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