J2150U Blog #12-Law

This week’s lecture was about journalism and law. The speaker talked about the First Amendment and how it applies to journalism. I sometimes can get very carried away in my work and don’t even realize how laws and our government system play a part in journalism. I believe this is mostly because we have freedom of speech in our country which gives journalists a lot of leeway. 

The speaker talked about how anything public is fair game. This is certainly not the case in countries that have a dictatorship. I was reminded in this lecture about defamatory statements. I haven’t thought about those since last year as a freshman during J1100. I think it is important that journalists are reminded about the basic principles every once in awhile. As stated in the quiz, something is a defamatory statement if it, “tends to injure plaintiff in his trade, profession or community standing, or lowering him in the estimation of the community.” To me this basically in simple terms means that it’s defamatory if it isn’t true and hurts someone. I wouldn’t ever consider making up work, but that’s just me. I would feel guilty misleading my readers or audience and know that it would come back to bite me in the ass if I were to fabricate a story. A statement is defamatory based on the context and reasonable implications, not just literal language. This always brings me back to the former journalist, Jayson Blair who committed journalistic fraud for the New York Times.


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