Presentation on theme: "Week 13: Journalism 2001 December 6, 2010. Review of last week’s news Hard News: Hard News: (murders, city council, government, etc.) –Major local stories."— Presentation transcript:
Review of last week’s news Hard News: Hard News: (murders, city council, government, etc.) –Major local stories –Major national/international stories –Major sports stories Soft News: Soft News: (retirements, school programs, human interest) –Local stories –National/international stories –Sports stories
Upcoming stories Feature Story Assignment Feature Story Assignment –Final article due: Next Monday, December 13 Final eportfolio project: Due December 17 Final eportfolio project: Due December 17 Final Exam: December 17 Final Exam: December 17 –6 p.m. –Humanities 484
Let’s review: Organizing a feature story Choose the theme Choose the theme –Do research, organize story around theme –Each section – beginning, body, end – revolve around theme –Narrow your theme Has the story been done before? The audience Holding power Worthiness
Write the lead Write the lead –Usually avoid summary leads Tough to summarize feature in opening paragraph –Lead possibilities endless: Narrative, contrast, staccato, direct address, etc. –Lead block: two or more paragraphs Write the body Write the body –Vital information while educating, entertaining and emotionally tying reader to the subject Provide background information Provide background information
Use a thread Use a thread –Can be single person, event or thing that highlights theme of the story Use transitions Use transitions –Transitions hold paragraphs together and helps writers move from one person or area to the next –Common transition words: meanwhile, therefore, sometimes, also, and, but, meantime, nevertheless, however
Use dialogue Use dialogue –Keeps readers attached to a story’s key players –Helps to introduce sources Use voice Use voice –Subjective expression of writer –Writer’s signature or personal style –More license to reveal opinions, personality Write the ending Write the ending –Can trail off, or end with a climax –Often ends where the lead started –End with a quote
Let’s go to NewsU http://www.newsu.org/ http://www.newsu.org/ http://www.newsu.org/ Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision
Chapter 7: Law First Amendment First Amendment First Amendment First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an 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 to the U.S. Constitution
Media rights –Privileges and protections for journalistic activities. –Access to government operations and records. Rights fall into two main categories:
Media rights –Fair report privilege Allows journalists to report anything said in official government proceedings. Must be accurate and fair. Privilege and protection for sources and stories –Opinion privilege Protects written opinions from libel suits. Distinction between facts and opinion.
Media rights Allows journalists to criticize performers, politicians and other matters of public interest. Privilege and protection… –Fair comment and criticism –Freedom from newsroom searches –Shield laws
Reporters and their sources Shield Laws Shield Laws –Statutory laws to protect reporters from revealing sources –Each state has different interpretation –What does Minnesota have?
Fair trial vs. free press Conflict between First Amendment and Sixth Amendment Conflict between First Amendment and Sixth Amendment –Sixth amendment: Rights of the accused to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury Why would there be a conflict? Why would there be a conflict? Jury Duty Jury Duty
Where to learn more Minnesota statutes Minnesota statutes Minnesota statutes Minnesota statutes U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Federal circuit courts Federal circuit courts Federal circuit courts Federal circuit courts Online legal research Online legal research Online legal research Online legal research
Open courtrooms The issues Does media coverage harm trial defendants? Do cameras turn courtrooms into circuses? Should press be banned from some trials? The law U.S. Supreme Court ruled that criminal trials must remain open to the media except for “overriding interest.”
Open meetings The issues Should public officials be allowed to make decisions behind closed doors? At what point does government secrecy become a threat? The law Varies by state. Generally, if the government board or commission receives revenue from taxes, subject to open meeting laws.
Open records The issues Should all government records be accessible to the public? Who decides what is off-limits? The law 1966 Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to make most of their records available. Every state has own version of FOIA.
Online resources –The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (www.rcfp.org) www.rcfp.org “How to Use the Federal FOI Act” “Tapping Officials’ Secrets” “Can We Tape?” –Legal Defense Hotline (1-800-336-4235) –Student Press Law Center (www.splc.org) “Open records Law Request Letter Generator” SPLC Virtual Lawyer
Media wrongs –Stories that can get you jailed Contempt of court Trespassing Sedition Reporter’s Guide to Trouble –Stories that can get you sued Libel Invasion of privacy Breach of contract
Media wrongs –Stories that can get you fired Plagiarism Fabrication Lapses in ethics Reporter’s Guide to Trouble –Stories that can get you angry phone calls Bias Bad taste Blunders & bloopers
Understanding libel –Who can sue for libel? Living people. Small groups. –Who is it that gets sued? Usually, the publication. Beginning reporter’s guide to libel What is libel? False statements and Defamatory and Published and Identifiable plaintiffs and Defendant must be at fault through negligence or malice.
“Red Flag” Words: Libel & Privacy adulteryblackmail confidence man drunkard AIDSblockheadcorruptionex-convict alcoholicbooze-houndcowardfraud altered records briberycrook gambling den Ambulance chaser brotheldeadbeatgangster Atheist buys votes deadheadgay bad moral character cheatsdefaultergraft Bankrupt child abuse divorced groveling office seeker bigamistcollusiondouble-crossedherpes blacklisted con artist drug abuser hit-man
hypocritemanipulaterape/rapist stool pigeon illegitimate mental illness scam stuffed the ballot box illicit relation mobsterscandalmongersuicide incompetent moral delinquency scoundrelswindle infidelitymouthpieceseducertaken informerNeo-Nazi sharp dealing thief insider trading paramourshysterunethical intimate peeping Tom slacker unmarried mother intoleranceperjurer smooth and tricky unprofessional Jekyll-Hyde personality plagiaristsmuggler unsound mind kept woman pockets public funds sneaky unworthy of credit Ku Klux Klan price cutter sold influence vice den liarprofiteering sold out villain Mafiaprostitutespy fawning sycophant
Classes of libelous words Words imputing the commission of a criminal offense Words imputing the commission of a criminal offenseAvoid: John Doe was taken into custody Wednesday for murdering Sally Smith Tuesday night. Better: John Doe was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with (or in the investigation of) the Tuesday night slaying of Sally Smith.
Words that impute infection with a loathsome communicable disease of any kind that would tend to exclude one from society. Words that impute infection with a loathsome communicable disease of any kind that would tend to exclude one from society. Is this news?: John Doe, who was elected Wednesday to be president of the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was treated last summer for a venereal disease, the Daily Bugle has learned.
Words that impute inability to perform, or want of integrity in the discharge of, duties of office or employment. Words that impute inability to perform, or want of integrity in the discharge of, duties of office or employment. Don’t write: Public school groundskeeper John Doe is unfit by temperament and intelligence to adequately perform his duties, sources who wish to remain anonymous said Wednesday. Words that prejudice a particular person in his or her profession or trade. Words that prejudice a particular person in his or her profession or trade. Don’t write: Attorney John Doe, who will represent the widow in the embezzlement case, is the most incompetent lawyer in town, according to courthouse observers.
Defamation by implication Implication created by the reporter’s organization of facts. Implication created by the reporter’s organization of facts. John Jones was seen entering the Shady Oaks motel yesterday with a woman. The motel is located in a known prostitution area.
Quotations Reporter/news medium must assume responsibility for the statement if it is used Reporter/news medium must assume responsibility for the statement if it is used –The fact that information was provided by a source does not necessarily mean that it is correct. –Beware of off-the-record tips passed along by sources, even high-ranking officials or law enforcement officers. Don’t write: Police said that the alleged crook is in custody. Instead: Police said that the man charged with the crime is in custody.
Defenses against libel Conditional defenses Conditional defenses –Privilege of reporting: Fair, accurate reporting of official proceedings –Fair comment and criticism: Applies to opinions about matters of public concern –Neutral reportage: Report charges made by one responsible person or organization about another when both parties are involved in a public controversy
Understanding libel –How do I defend myself? Truth Consent Privilege –How can I avoid libel? Verify material. Allow people to defend themselves. Remember, public officials often make “unofficial” claims. If you make mistake, correct it.
Understanding libel –Iowa supreme court – “Any performance to which the public is invited may be freely criticized.” The Cherry Sisters vs. “Fair Comment and Criticism” –“Also, any editor may publish reasonable comments on that performance.”
Understanding libel –Actual malice – knowing you are lying or disregarding the truth –Opinion – ideas that don’t claim to be factual –Slander – defamation that is spoken A lexicon of libel Public official – someone who exercises power or influence in governmental affairs Public figure – person who has acquired fame or notoriety
Absolute libel defenses Statute of limitations Statute of limitations –Two years in Minnesota Truth Truth Privilege of participant Privilege of participant –Participants in official proceedings Consent or authorization Consent or authorization Self-defense or right of reply Self-defense or right of reply
Partial defenses Publication of a retraction: Clear admission of erroneous reporting Publication of a retraction: Clear admission of erroneous reporting Facts showing no gross negligence or ill will Facts showing no gross negligence or ill will Facts showing that the reporter relied on a usually reliable source Facts showing that the reporter relied on a usually reliable source
The actual malice standard The New York Times rule The New York Times rule –New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: 1964 Supreme Court: To collect damages, a public official would have to prove the defendant acted with “actual malice;” knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. –1967: Supreme Court said that public figures, in addition to public officials, also have to show actual malice to recover libel damages. Bottom line: More protection from libel action if plaintiff is a public person.
Checklist for dealing with libel Be aggressive – but don’t take foolish risks Be aggressive – but don’t take foolish risks Be fair – keep an open mind Be fair – keep an open mind Seek advice if you are unsure of your turf Seek advice if you are unsure of your turf
Invasion of privacy –Intrusion Trespass Secret surveillance Misrepresentation –False light Anything that portrays someone in an inaccurate way –Public disclosure of private facts Private Intimate Offensive –Appropriation Unauthorized use of someone’s name, photo or words to endorse or sell a product or service.
Taste, decency, censorship –Vulgar language –Offensive topics –Conflict of interest Reasons your story might get spiked 5 –Legal/ethical issues –Reporting flaws
Portfolio Store academic information on your Electronic Portfolio. Each student has 100 mb of storage. Store academic information on your Electronic Portfolio. Each student has 100 mb of storage. Access Electronic Portfolio at: https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.j sp Access Electronic Portfolio at: https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.j sp https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.j sp https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.j sp
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