Principals of Journalism Week 4.docx - Elements of Journalism Week 4 The Elements of Journalism I Journalism’s First Obligation is to the Truth New

Principals of Journalism Week 4.docx - Elements of...

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Elements of Journalism Week 4 The Elements of Journalism I: Journalism’s First Obligation is to the Truth New York Times v. Sullivan Published an ad during the Civil Rights Movement times Advocated for Northerners to raise money in the south Recounts story travails MLK Group of African American students who were locked into cafeteria by police Didn’t mention Sullivan by name Chief of police Implicated Ad was saying that police in Montgomery was being nefarious Says ad was false and ruining his reputation Had committed other atrocities to African American students State by state issue Sue NYT in Alabama court NYT Win 1.5 m dollars Lose Alabama Went to Supreme court Supreme Court ruled in favor for NYT Said gist of truth was still there and for a public official to sue the press, NYT must have known this was false but published anyway Masson v. New Yorker Involves Jeffery Masson, head of Sigmund Freud Institute Wrote profile on Masson Put direct quotes about slandering things from Masson Masson sues saying she never said those things None of these quotes were found in notes or recordings, but some were very similar
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Supreme court had to decide does making up quotes by itself permit defamation? Rules in favor of New Yorker Says sometimes we need to give journalists breathing space In the rush, maybe they got something wrong Give press much more freedom than that Involves factual errors, misleading public Both cases involve this Absolute truth is absolutely difficult to attain Need to give press leeway Without fear of lawsuits What is truth, and why does the truth matter? What is journalism’s role in the pursuit of truth? How do “accuracy” and “balance” serve the pursuit of truth? How does telling the truth relate to the other elements of journalism? Why does truth matter? Truth has sometimes been described as a foundation al norm o Underpins other norms (loyalty, trust, fairness) We need to operate on the basis that people we interact with will tell us the truth o All sorts of big and small decisions rest on this
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  • Spring '08
  • hansmeyer

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