Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

NU’s Backlash To The Backlash

NU’s backlash to the backlash: The Daily Northwestern apologized to activists for its coverage and photos of a stormy news event, writes Robby Soave.

The activists worried that the student newspaper’s coverage of their disruptive actions undermined their safety and could get them in trouble. Journalism dean  calls the paper’s apology “heartfelt though not well-considered.”

 

Freedom To Offend

Freedom to offend: Toronto Star public editor Kathy English defends the freedom of columnists to express views that are outrageous and even offensive. “I must defend their freedom to offend,” she explains to readers.

 

Ethics Puzzler; You Decide

Ethics puzzler; you decide: Three California universities paid the Orange County Register $275.000 for a year’s worth of weekly sections featuring campus life. A smart way to raise revenue, or a serious breach of journalism ethics? From the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists archives.

https://ethicsadvicelineforjournalists.org/2013/09/18/smart-way-to-rai…or-ethics-breach/

High Court Favors Secrecy

High court favors secrecy: In a blow to freedom of information, the U.S. Supreme court expanded the federal definition of what can be deemed confidential, the Argus Leader reports.

“At issue was whether confidentiality, as used in a section of the Freedom of Information Act, means anything intended to be kept secret or only information likely to cause harm if publicized,” writes the Argus Leader, which began the case with an FOI request in 2011.

 

SF Police Sow Suspicion of Media

SF police sow suspicion of media: The heavy-handed seizure of a freelance reporter’s records and devices is a gross violation of federal rules, writes Kelly McBride.

“By continuing to argue publicly that their raid was justified, and that this particular journalist is a bad person who shouldn’t be trusted, the SFPD adds to the public confusion over the role of the press,” she writes.

 

Saving Local Newspapers

Saving local newspapers: Dwindling local news leads to partisan political polarization write Joshua P. Darr, Johanna Dunaway and Matthew P. Hitt.

Local newspapers provide a valuable service to democracy by keeping readers’ focus on their communities,” they write. “When they lose local newspapers, we have found, readers turn to their political partisanship to inform their political choices.”

 

Morality Clauses

Morality clauses: Writers find them in their contracts, writes Judith Shulevitz, but “immorality is a slippery concept,” like “public disrepute.” The public is fickle in what it takes umbrage at.

“Times change, norms change with them. Morality clauses hand the power to censor to publishers, not the government, so they don’t violate the constitutional right to free speech. But that power is still dangerous.”

 

Journalism Entry Points Disappear

Journalism entry points disappear: Digital-media start-up Mic crashes and burns, writes Margaret Sullivan.

“With the tragic demise of local newspapers, places like Mic have become the entry point into the craft for a lot of young journalists,” she writes. “As they go under, such entry points disappear.”

 

Denying Coverage To Nazis

Denying coverage to Nazis: An Arkansas television station thinks about the news value in covering a Nazi rally, then decides to “give them silence,” writes Al Tompkins.

News director learns the protestors are not local, protesting an issue of no local importance.

 

Lagging Freedom Of Information Act

Lagging Freedom of Information Act: Passed in 1966, but “it’s more difficult than ever to pry loose documents about the federal government”, writes C.J. Ciaramella.

Roughly 800,000 FOIA requests were made in 2017. A record number were denied or censored in the first year of the Trump administration. Ciaramella calls the act “a wheezing, arthritic artifact of more optimistic times.”