Law and Ethics for Today's Journalist offers aspiring and working journalists the practical understanding of law and ethics they must have to succeed at their craft. Instead of covering every nuance of media law for diverse communications majors, Mathewson focuses exclusively on what's relevant for journalists. Even though media law and media ethics are closely linked together in daily journalistic practice, they are usually covered in separate volumes. Mathewson brings them together in a clear and colourful way that practicing journalists will find more useful. Everything a journalist needs to know about legal protections, limitations, and risks inherent in workaday reporting is illustrated with highlights from major court opinions.
Mathewson advises journalists who must often make ethical decisions on the spot with no time for the elaborate, multi-faceted analysis. The book assigns to journalists the hard decisions on ethical questions such as whether to go undercover or otherwise misrepresent themselves in order to get a big story. The ethics chapter precedes the law chapters because ethical standards should underlie a journalist's work at all times. There may be occasions when ethics and law are not parallel, thus calling for the journalist to make a personal judgment. Law and Ethics for Today's Journalist is user-friendly, written in clear, direct, understandable language on issues that really matter to a working journalist. Supplementary reading of the actual court cases is recommended and links to most cases are provided in the text. The text includes a fine (but purposely not exhaustive) bibliography listing important and useful legal cases, including instructive appellate and trial court opinions, state as well as federal.
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