Ch.5 - Alison Grimes Ch.5 Privacy 1 Define the private facts tort and tell how much protection the First Amendment provides for the press to

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Alison Grimes Ch.5 Privacy 1. Define the private facts tort and tell how much protection the First Amendment provides for the press to publish lawfully acquired, truthful “private” information. Write the point of law from BJF. Understand the First Amendment law established by BJF Smith v. Daily Mail and Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn The private-facts tort, a summary of the common law, as a publication of private information that would include the following: Be highly offensive revelation of true to a reasonable person o “So intimate” and the publication if which is “so unwarranted” as to shock or “outrage the community’s notions of decency.” Not of legitimate concern to the public The tort involves the disclosure of very personal information, a disclosure that is not justified by the newsworthiness of the information. In the B.J.F case the Court made the point of law that “When a State attempts the extraordinary measure of punishing truthful publication in the name of privacy, it must demonstrate its commitment to advancing this interest by ailing its prohibition evenhandedly, to the smalltime disseminator as well as the media giant.” The court ruled that publication of public information contained in court records is constitutionally protected. 2. What information is newsworthy? Newsworthiness is a broad defense including information gathered in public places and information about public figures and interesting events. Information about the ill or the intellectually disabled and private information about children might not be newsworthy. 3. Hypothetical: Martha Struthers was raped in 1995 in Savannah. A suspect was sent to jail on a plea bargain for two years. Struther’s name was never made public. She appeared in court documents as Jane Doe. Georgia prohibits officials from releasing names or identities of sexual assault victims. In 2006, Struthers moved to Athens, where she sings and dances in local clubs. She is a regular counselor at the Rape Crisis Center, but she has told only a few close friends that she herself was raped. While gathering information for a story about the Crisis Center, the Red and Black learn that Struthers was raped in Savannah. The Red and Black reporter learns the information from a volunteer at the crisis center who reveals Struthers’ secret providing the source’s name is held confidential. The newspaper confirms the rape through an anonymous police source in Savannah. The Red and Black decide to publish Struthers’ secret, arguing at internal meetings that the rape of a counselor at the Rape Crisis Center is newsworthy. The student editor argues the newspaper will “humanize” the story about the rape center and enhance the credibility of the rape counselors by revealing that at least one of the counselors is herself a victim.
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a. Is publication of Struthers’ secret “highly offensive?” b. Does the BJF case provide constitutional protection for the Red and Black? c. Does the Red and Black publish a story of “public importance” as required
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2011 for the course JRLC 5040 taught by Professor Lee during the Spring '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Ch.5 - Alison Grimes Ch.5 Privacy 1 Define the private facts tort and tell how much protection the First Amendment provides for the press to

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