November 10, 2005
AP Stylebook - Libel
As I was reading this section on libel, I became very intrigued. To feed my curiosity, I called my cousin, who is an Assistant District Attorney. I wanted to ask her all about libel issues in Pennsylvania. When I finally got her on the phone, she told me that in Pennsylvania one can only be sued for libel...they cannot be prosectued. When we hung up she continued to do a bit of research. She finally got back to me and told me that at one point, maybe in the 1800's, one could have been prosecuted for libel. I'm not really sure what site she looked into, but she told me that the only cases she could find that dealt with prosecution for libel dated back to the 1890's. I found this to be quite amazing.
I think that the reason why I was so intrigued by this reading was because it talked about the laws in other states, but never mentioned anything about Pennsylvania.
Posted by AshleeLupchinsky at November 10, 2005 10:38 AM
Very informative blog entry! Libel is a serious offense and not surprisingly one that had been prosecuted. When you think about it, a person's reputation is more valuable than money. A few years ago I did some genealogy research on my mother's side of the family. I uncovered so many interesting facts not only about my family but also about Pittsburgh history. My great grandfather was a reporter and type setter for some of the early Pittsburgh news papers like the Leader. That paper promoted itself as a family-friendly paper that never printed anything salacious.
Posted by: NancyGregg at November 10, 2005 12:15 PM
How wonderful for you to be able to find out that sort of information about your family. You are definitely right in saying that one's reputation is far more important than any amount of money that they would have to pay. As novice journalists...we must watch every step we make.
Posted by: Ashlee at November 10, 2005 12:27 PM
Wait a second, let me get this straight. One can be sued for libel, but not prosecuted? That's tremendous news. It means I'll finally be able to publish my tell-all memoir, "Under the Flashing Light: Confessions of a Shuttle Van Driver." It's gonna be huge.
And you're right, one's reputation is invaluable. I lost mine years ago and it's been downhill ever since.
Posted by: Michael Dell at November 11, 2005 10:39 PM