O events that are gossip or public curiosity do not

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o Events that are gossip or public curiosity do not confer status of public figure o Persons may be classified as public figures event relates to public affairs o Public officials: government employees who are responsible for government activities o Public figures: have power and influence; thrust themselves into public controversy Attributing libel is no defense o May be held liable if repeat a libelous statement o May be held liable if quote someone who made libelous statement o Safe assertion was made in court or at official meeting Considered privileged Privilege is a defense if report was fair and accurate Don’t name suspects o Make sure charges have been filed before reporting o What police say they are doing or plan to do are not official actions o This is not privileged information Conditional and absolute privileged o Conditional privilege Journalists protection is conditional Reporters must present full, fair, accurate reports free of malice Protection does not cover private meetings, proceedings or activities or sealed records o Absolute privilege The participants in court cases and legislative sessions Cannot be held legally accountable Hot news and time copy o Hot news The court gives leeway to mistakes under pressure o Time copy The court is strict with reporters who have time to check material Accuracy is the best route o Joseph Pulitzer’s three rules for journalisms “accuracy, accuracy, accuracy” or risk trouble o Even if you win a lawsuit, legal costs are huge o Accuracy = checking everything yourself
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  • Fall '10
  • MelissaAlpers-Sprngers
  • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, Incite public ridicule, Imply unchaste behavior

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