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October 20, 2005

Gray Areas

Law is so complicated! I think practicing journalism is complicated enough, I would never want to have to worry about this legal stuff too! There seem to be so many gray areas. It would be so difficult to decide/prove if someone really had "malicious intent" or if they really didn't know certain information was false when they published it.

I also found it interesting how the laws regarding libel are somewhat different depending on if the person is a private individual or a public official. I wouldn't have thought that they'd be different, but it makes sense. It might be in the public's interest to know about something a government official did or said because that officialís actions may affect the public. And even if it doesn't affect the public directly, it might provide insight to the kind of person that government official is, and it could help the public decide if that is someone they want to continue to represent them. It fits in with the media's role as watchdog. But, a private citizenís actions in many cases really do not concern or affect the general public, making it easier for them to accuse reporters of libel.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at October 20, 2005 4:39 PM


You're sooo right Lorin. I think that the laws alone are enough for me to not get into journalism. It's so risky. I'd be a nervous wreck all of the time.

Posted by: Chera Pupi at October 20, 2005 8:21 PM

I agree, it's scary. Just understanding some of the text like, "the plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the publication was made in a grossly irresponsible manner without due regard for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties involving similar matters." Whew, sounds like legal jargon to me.

Posted by: NancyGregg at October 20, 2005 9:59 PM

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