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The Functions of News Media In American Society. The political watchdog function. Journalists are charged with monitoring the activities of the government.

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Presentation on theme: "The Functions of News Media In American Society. The political watchdog function. Journalists are charged with monitoring the activities of the government."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Functions of News Media In American Society

2 The political watchdog function. Journalists are charged with monitoring the activities of the government.

3 The entertainment function. Not everything in life is serious. We want comic relief. We want comic strips. We want sound advice from Dear Abby. We want our MTV.

4 Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith, MJE © 2004, published by TEACHINGpoint The social function. Newspapers and broadcast news provide Americans with topics to talk about over the back fence, at the office water cooler, over coffee at Starbucks.

5 The economic function. Advertising carried in the media helps to stimulate the economy and provide consumers with information about available products and services.

6 The record-keeping function. Through the records kept by the news media, we know who is born, gets married, gets divorced, dies, who won the game, etc.

7 The First Amendment Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith

8 Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment

9 45 words guarantee 5 basic freedoms –Religion no religion can be forced on Americans no American can be prohibited from worshiping

10 45 words guarantee 5 basic freedoms Speech –Americans are free to express their opinions, based upon their own value systems (based on the freedom of religion, previous slide)

11 45 words guarantee 5 basic freedoms –Press Americans are free to print the truth, and Congress cannot require any kind of licensing for journalists; all Americans have this freedom

12 45 words guarantee 5 basic freedoms –Assembly »Americans have the freedom to gather in public places for meetings, for worship, as spectators.

13 45 words guarantee 5 basic freedoms –Petition »Americans have the right to petition the government for change and have the right to petition at the ballot box.

14 What the First Amendment Really Means Are you really free to say anything you want to say? Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith

15 What the First Amendment means: The First Amendment is viewpoint neutral. All ideas are protected. The way in which ideas are expressed may be subject to some controls.

16 What the First Amendment means: OKNot OK

17 What the First Amendment means: Only the government is prevented from imposing restrictions on freedom of expression. One exception: Public schools (government agents) can prevent expression that would lead to a material and substantial disruption of the school day and can limit expression for legitimate, pedagogical reasons.

18 What the First Amendment means: Private businesses can restrict expression on their property, Web sites. Individuals can restrict expression in their homes and on their property.

19 Material not protected By the First Amendment Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith

20 Material that is obscene as to minors Must meet all three of the following requirements to be considered obscene as to minors: The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the publication, taken as a whole, appeals to a minors prurient interest in sex;

21 Material that is obscene as to minors Must meet all three of the following requirements to be considered obscene as to minors: The publication depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct such as ultimate sexual acts (normal or perverted), masturbation and lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

22 Material that is obscene as to minors Must meet all three of the following requirements to be considered obscene as to minors: The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

23 Material that is obscene as to minors According to this definition, indecent or vulgar language is not obscene. Words are not obscene in an of themselves.

24 Libelous material Libelous statements are provably false and unprivileged statements of fact that cause injury to an individuals or businesss reputation in the community.

25 Libelous material Public officials and public figures have less protection than private citizens. A public official is a person who holds an elected or appointed office and exercises a significant amount of government authority: Mayor, Governor, President, etc.

26 Libelous material Public officials and public figures have less protection than private citizens. School employees will be considered public officials or public figures in relationship to articles in the school media which concern their school-related activities.

27 Libelous material When an allegedly libelous statement concerns an individual who is not a public official or public figure, it must be proven that the false statement was published willfully or negligently; i.e., the journalist who wrote or published the statement has failed to exercise reasonably prudent care.

28 Libelous material If the allegedly libelous statement concerns an individual who is a public official or public figure, it must be proven that the statement was made with actual malice.

29 Libelous material Journalists, including student journalists, are allowed to express opinions. Specifically, they may criticize policy or the performance of teachers, administrators, school officials and other school employees.

30 Material that will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities Disruption is defined as: Student rioting Unlawful seizure of property Destruction of property Substantial student participation in a boycott

31 Material that will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities For student media to be considered disruptive, specific facts must exist upon which one could reasonably forecast that there would be an immediate, substantial disruption to the normal school activity as a result of the materials distribution.

32 Material that will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities Mere fear or apprehension about a disturbance is not enough; school administrators must be able to show substantial facts that would reasonably support a forecast of likely disruption.

33 Material that will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities Administrators must pay attention to the context of the distribution as well as the content of the material.

34 Material that will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities Consideration must be given to: past experience in the school with similar material, past experience in dealing with the students at the school, current events which influence student attitudes; and whether or not there have been previous instances of actual or threatened disruption that occurred simultaneously with the distribution of the student publication.

35 Speech that could lead to imminent lawless action Yelling FIRE! in a crowded movie theater

36 Invasion of privacy Private citizens have more protections than public figures, public officials (as in libel cases)

37 Invasion of privacy Types of invasion of privacy: Appropriation of someones face or likeness without express permission Unreasonable publicity given to ones personal life Intrusion upon someones seclusion Publicity which unfavorably places someone in false light before the public

38 Fighting words While Americans have the right to express their opinions, the Supreme Court has ruled that fighting words, those words which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace, are not protected.

39 Copyright infringement Occurs when copyrighted material is used without the permission of the creator or copyright holder. A copyright lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. After the copyright expires, the material enters the public domain, meaning that it is available for use. All intellectual property should be credited to the creator.

40 Ethics and Responsibility Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith Ethics and Responsibility Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith

41 Ethics Defined as: the motivation to act based on ideas of right and wrong. Defined as: the motivation to act based on ideas of right and wrong.

42 Ethics Journalists govern themselves through Codes of Ethics, including: Journalists govern themselves through Codes of Ethics, including: –The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists –The Statement of Principles of the American Society of Newspaper Editors –Other major news organizations and individual media outlets have their own codes of ethics which are similar in concept.

43 American Society of Newspaper Editors –Based on four principles: Seek truth and report it Seek truth and report it Minimize harm Minimize harm Act independently Act independently Be accountable Be accountable

44 American Society of Newspaper Editors Statement of principles: Statement of principles: –Responsibility –Freedom of the Press ASNE says this belongs to the PEOPLE, and must be defended against attacks by any entity, including government ASNE says this belongs to the PEOPLE, and must be defended against attacks by any entity, including government

45 American Society of Newspaper Editors –Statement of principles: –Independence. ASNE believes journalists must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. ASNE believes journalists must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. –Impartiality. This does not prevent the newspaper reporter from having an opinion, but there must be a clear distinction for the reader about what is presented as fact and what is presented as an opinion This does not prevent the newspaper reporter from having an opinion, but there must be a clear distinction for the reader about what is presented as fact and what is presented as an opinion

46 American Society of Newspaper Editors –Statement of principles: –Fair Play. Journalists must respect the rights of all who are involved in a news story, no matter who they are or what they have done.

47 American Society of Newspaper Editors –ASNE ends its statement of principles this way: –These principles are intended to preserve, protect and strengthen the bond of trust and respect between American journalists and the American people, a bond that is essential to sustain the grant of freedom entrusted to both by the nations founders.

48 The Scholastic Media Powerpoint taken from Introduction to Journalism by Dianne Smith

49 The student media Student journalists are following in the footsteps of their professional counterparts. Students are producing: Newspapers Yearbooks Literary Magazines Broadcast news Documentaries News web sites or online editions of the student newspaper

50 The student media Students are tackling more sophisticated and controversial topics than high schools of a few years ago would allow. Gay/lesbian issues Teen pregnancy STDs Homelessness AIDS

51 The student media Students are gaining practical experience in writing, editing, layout, design, visual media. Focus on controversial topics causes some concern from administrators and the public (See 2003 First Amendment Survey results.)

52 The student media Three major U.S. Supreme Court cases have shaped the student media. Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969 Bethel v. Fraser, 1986 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 1988

53 Tinker v. Des Moines Established that students have First Amendment rights while at school. Students can express opinions at school so long as they do not materially and substantially disrupt the normal activities of the school day.

54 Bethel v. Fraser Established that while students have the freedom to express themselves, the school has the right to determine how they express their opinions. The school has the right to limit vulgarity within its boundaries and to ensure a positive learning atmosphere for all students.

55 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Did not reverse Tinker, but limited the amount of freedom the student press, or any activity which allows expression, may have. Established that administrators have the right to censor the press for legitimate, pedagogical reasons, but did not establish what those reasons might be.

56 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Did not reverse Tinker, but limited the amount of freedom the student press, or any activity which allows expression, may have. Established that administrators have the right to censor the press for legitimate, pedagogical reasons, but did not establish what those reasons might be. Emphasized that school administrators must be viewpoint neutral, and cannot censor a students expression because it differs from their own.

57 The Student Press Law Center The Student Press Law Center is set up to assist student journalists in high school and college with all legal issues concerning the production of student media. Censorship Prior review Prevention of libel, copyright infractions, invasion of privacy issues


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