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Lecture

JOUR 3333 Lecture Notes - Jury Trial, Actual Malice, Dominick Dunne


Department
Journalism
Course Code
JOUR 3333
Professor
Shelly Borden

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Speakers: David Cole, Dean Jobb
Defamation – Publish something that in the minds of right-minded people lessens the
opinion of an individual
Libel (written/broadcasting) – in permanent and accessible form
Slander – oral defamation (suing slander is a much narrower time people. Isn’t as harmful
as libel)
If you are the author or editor of something that brings someone’s reputation down, you
can be sued
All the plaintiff has to do is that you published something; you published it about ‘me’;
and prove that someone other than him read it. If he does that then it’s up to a jury to
decide if you defamed him. Jury also says how much money
Jury trial unless both sides agree that it’s not, or you work for the crown (inc. CBC –
crown corporation)
Notice of Intended Action – Looks like a statement of claims, particularize everything
that you did. Serve that on you. Gives you a special right to go back, look at what you
did, and apologize. Publish apology (same size/location), prevents person who was hurt
collecting money – except special damages (i.e. losing a job, etc.)
If you express a defamatory statement of fact – you need defensive justification. Burden
on journalist, you need witnesses, photographs, etc.
Defamatory opinion – neither right nor wrong. Defense to opinion is fair comment. In the
article given the reader the basis for my opinion that (i.e. Dean is lazy), so that the reader
can make the informed decision that (i.e. Dean is lazy). If you make a statement of fact
and it’s true, motives can be whatever. Malice will defeat an opinion.
Privilege – if you report what goes on in court and it’s defamatory, doesn’t matter. Law
says we place a value on the truth and it doesn’t matter who it hurts.
Qualified privilege – Honest belief that the claims you make are true(Malice can defeat
qualified privilege – neither can sue and there are no damages series of relationships
ex. Student/teacher, employer/for employer – called upon for opinion
2. New defense of responsible journalists – U.S/NY Times, you need actual malice.
Prove the newspaper had malice or you lose. Expand qualified privilege to include
responsible journalists. If according to a court you did everything right, but it turns out
you got something wrong, you should be excused if it’s an important story. (Could be bad
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