JOUR 336 Weekly Outline                        

home image Back to home page         **  Spring Syllabus **

NOTE:  Unlike previous classes you may have had with me, nothing will be added to the online course calendar during the semester, except links will be updated at the time as an assignment is due for work to begin.  That means your indication of what to study will only come from your own notes taken while doing the assigned reading and from notes you should take from what is covered in class, along with any possible textbook online support site. That also means you must pay attention to instructions in class. For questions regarding anything you miss in class, you must meet with the professor during regular office hours. LINKS indicated in the hard copy of this document will be found in this online outline below.

I will not respond to emails outside normal work hours. Never assume an email has been received. Most class-related communication must occur individually between the student and the instructor during scheduled office hours. 
No grade discussions via email nor around or during class.  

Email the instructor immediately if you encounter a dead link. Also try using a different browser.

$60 for a
130 Day Rental from VitalSource  (Must use 19th edition).    Textbook Student Study Site 
Note the latest edition is the 20th, but is too expensive and not being used for the course.

Week 1       (1/16-19)         Reading: Chapter 1 and Law & The Media in Texas  
Chap. 1 pdf:    Tues:   Syllabus overview.   Course overview.   Buy the textbook now.   Overview.  The American Legal System 

TAKE NOTES IN EVERY CLASS.  Class content will guide you toward much of the content of exams. 

Thurs:  How important is law to the way our society operates?  How significant is “the press” in relation to our style of government?  What factors are part of “the American system? (NOT IN BOOK)  A.  freedom (personal, of expression, from ‘unfair’ treatment, others?)      B. self-governing  (governor, president, Congress vote vs. polls--representatives?)  C. organized, methodical “revolution”  --scheduled voting, impeachment    D. free enterprise, private ownership, capitalism

What are the 5 major sources of law in the U.S.?  Jurisdiction.  The Judicial System (federal and state).

Begin Chap. 1
main points in class to assist you in taking notes, PPT files will not be provided.

Week 2   (1/22-26 )            The First Amendment      Reading:  Chapter 2    About Texas Courts   Texas Courts
Continue criminal vs. civil cases, contracts & torts.  tort: any other wrong—other than breach of contract—for which the law gives the  injured party some kind of remedy against the wrongdoer in a civil court.   contract:  voluntary legally binding agreement mutual agreement to perform in a certain way under certain circumstances.  Legal process.

First Amendment: Chap. 2 main points in class to assist you in taking notes, PPT files will not be provided.

Week 3    (1/29-2/2)      
Contemporary Problems    Reading:   Chapter 3      Chap. 3 as .PDF

First Amendment.  Some Chapter 3 items:  net neutrality,  Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District ,   Snyder v. Phelps & the Westboro Baptist Church,  Bethel School District v. Fraser and  censorship of the speech of a public school student, Barber v. Dearborn Public Schools relationship to Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District , Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and a law restricting spending by corporations on political advertising, McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission and anonymous speech, locations considered traditional public forums.

Textbook Student Study Site 

Week 4     (2/5-9)          
Test 1  /  Libel  (Paper 1 assigned)   Reading:  Chapter 4                                                                   
Begin Libel (not on Test 1).  About the paper assignments:
This is a communication law class. There are many interesting and important legal issues which are outside the boundaries of this class. Each paper topic must address a question related to the study of communication law. At the same time, there are many communication law issues that we do not cover in class. You are not limited to the topics or issues addressed in class materials.

Test 1 Chapters 1-3 and class content   /   Paper 1 assigned Thursday.

Some Chap. 4 items:  Who can/
cannot sue for civil libel?  What does/does not constitute 'identification' related to filing a libel lawsuit?  What will a court consider in evaluating the truth or falsity of a published article/story?  How do most states regard the terms libel related to slander?  What is the single mistake rule?  What is, and what has been done related to, libel tourism cases?  What are anti-SLAPP laws?  How readily have they been adopted by states?  A libelous statement is something that injures an individual’s ______ but not his or her _____.   Product disparagement is also known as ______.  In a libel lawsuit, the  burden of proving truth or falsity of the material generally falls on ___.  What five elements must the plaintiff prove to meet the initial burden of proof in a libel action?  What is a tort? ....tort law? (see below)
Week 5     (2/12-16)     
   Libel       READING:    Chaps. 5 & 6

  Paper 1 due start of class Thursday.  All papers must be stapled.
we covered Chaps. 5 & 6 and an overview of tort law and lawsuits--get notes from someone in the class.  There is no class meeting Thursday--be there on time to turn in the paper that's due.  Do the reading and use the chapter reviews--time to prepare for Exam 2 is starting now.

Tort Law.   
Tort -- a wrong other than breach of contract for which an injured party is able to bring a lawsuit against the person who injured him/her. Anyone can sue: costs the media defendant time & money. Media defendant will commonly lose the case, but win an appeal. (why?)  Defense against libel in the U.S.--truth, privilege (define absolute privilege and qualified provilege), fair comment & criticism (opinion / commentary), rhetorical hyberbole (parody example)

a lawsuit based on statements of opinion, a defendant may win the case

Libel = false report that damages the reputation of an individual, but presentation as factual information.  Elements needed to prove libel: False, presented as fact, Publication, Identification.. Defamation (reputation, not character), Fault, Negligence, Actual Malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth).
Some Chap. 5 items:  The New York Times v. Sullivan is important because of whatWhat is actual malice?  What is
reckless disregard for the truth?  The U.S. Supreme Court laid down a test for actual malice in what 1967 case(s)?  When does
bootstrapping occur in libel law?  What will a court will consider in determining whether an individual is a limited purpose public figure for purposes of a libel action?  When would a person be considered a public figure?  When can an individual be regarded as an all-purpose public figure? What are four elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress?  -->Most judges tend to focus on which one of the four elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress when evaluating a defendant’s actions?
Some Chap. 6 items
Under the statute of limitation libel rules, the date of publication (when the time limit begins) for a newspaper is considered to be what?  What is the difference between absolute and qualified privilege?  What is the status of things regarding lawsuits of the publisher of a libel on the Internet?  What are the common defenses to a lawsuit based on statements of opinion? What are the criteria in the Ollman test for libelous opinion? What is the libel defense of neutral reportage?  When do most criminal libel prosecutions occur?  Courts can usually assess what four kinds of damages in a libel suit?  A libelous comment may be answered with a libelous comment under the defense of_____. For libel, the statute of limitations in most states is ______ years. (Texas is one year.)  How does the Ollman test differ from the Milkovich test?

Week 6   (2/19-23)            READING:   
Chapter 7          Privacy                                                                       

Intrusion, Publication of Private Facts, False Light, Appropriation

Some Chap. 7 items:  What are
common sources of privacy rights in the United States today?  What do transformative use in a right of publicity case refers toOne of the most important scholarly articles contributing to the legal recognition of a right to privacy in the United States was published where, in 1890, and was co-authored by whom?  Could a person whose photo is taken without her permission while she is walking down a public street sidewalk successfully sue for anything?  How does the intrusion tort differ from other right to privacy torts?  The Booth rule is applicable in which of the four varieties of invasion of privacy?  In privacy law, the doctrine of incidental use means what?  What state in 2013 attempted to adopt an anti-paparazzi statute known as the “Steven Tyler Act”? Vanna White brought a successful right of publicity case based upon the unauthorized use of what?  What limitations can celebrities stop the use of in commercial messages?  How does the publication of information obtained through an illegal intrusion relate to any possible intrusion lawsuit?  Do persons who send e-mail messages or participate in chat rooms on the Internet have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the law?  How does the defense of newsworthiness apply in privacy cases?  How / when does consent apply in an appropriation case?

Textbook Student Study Site 
Week 7   (2/26-3/2)           READING:  
Chapter 8   

Privacy.       Paper 2 assigned Tuesday.     

Some Chap 8 items:
To win a lawsuit for the publication of private facts, the plaintiff must show what elements?   In 2012, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Marsh v. County of San Diego became the first federal appellate court to recognize a U.S. constitutional right to privacy for what?    How is the publication of the name of the victim of a rape is regarded legally and ethically? Is it permissible to relate stories about a person’s past public life when covering a current event?  How is false light viewed by many states?  How does Cain v. Hearst Corp., 878 S.W.2d 577, relate to Texas law?  What two areas of privacy law seem most affected by the Internet?  What must a public-figure plaintiff in a false light privacy suit prove?
What must a plaintiff, who is suing for the publication of private facts, prove to the court to win his or her suit?
Some Chap. 9 items: What did the U.S. Supreme Court rule in 2013 McBurney v. Young regarding open records laws?  

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling in what case gave a narrow interpretation to the scope of FOIA Exemption 2?   Under the federal Freedom of Information Act, a government agency has how many working/business days to respond to a request for records after it receives the request?  Records of which U.S. government entities are not subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act?  In making federal FOIA requests, are representatives of the news media charged for copies of records?  What are one-party consent vs. two-party consent states?  Which is more common? Is 'trespass' allowed for journalist who are legitimately covering a news story?  Does the First Amendment protect journalists or give them legal relief when they violate generally applicable laws while covering news? How have courts responded to the argument that the First Amendment protects the right to gather news?  The case of Wilson v. Layne illustrates the principle that when law enforcement officials bring reporters during a ride-along inside a private home during an otherwise valid search they may violate the _____________ Amendment.  The federal law adopted in 1974 that is designed to safeguard the privacy of students’ education records is known by the acronym ____________.  The federal law and rules designed to protect the privacy of information of medical patients is known by the acronym ______________.  What are the common FOIA exemptions?

Week 8    (3/5-9)                READING:   Chapter 9

Paper 2 due start of class Tuesday.  All papers must be stapled.

Tuesday:  Begin Newsgathering: Records/Meetings  (not on Test 2).  

Free Press-Fair Trial.  Balance between news coverage hype and a fair trial in the courtroom. Cameras in the courtroom introduced in 1965; two-thirds of states allowed by 1991.  Criminal trials are presumptively open.  Shield Laws: State laws that protect reporters from naming anonymous sources for police investigations.  Freedom of information: State and federal laws give citizens and journalists the right to view government documents .  Open meetings: State and federal laws give citizens and journalists the right to attend government meetings. U.S. Patriot Act 2001 has taken away access rights to many federal, state documents. HIPPA 1996 has complicated access to health information that is generally public.  Anti-SLAPP legislation.  Limited Invitation.  Apparent Authority.  Trespass.  Police orders.  Public vs. private property: Public property, Designated Public Forum, Inaccessible public property, Private property.

TEST 2 Thursday, Chapters 4-8 and class content.  

MID SEMESTER / Spring Break

Week 9:      (3/19-23)        Reading:
   Chapter 10

Newsgathering: Sources/Contempt Power.

Textbook Student Study Site

Some review materials: 
In 2013, what journalist fought a subpoena relating to her confidential sources for a story about the prosecution of James Holmes for the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting?    Some courts have fashioned a limited First Amendment privilege that often protects reporters who refuse to reveal the names of news sources--judges seem more willing to grant reporters the use of this privilege in what situation(s)?   The Privacy Protection Act of 1980 came as a legislative response to which U.S. Supreme Court case? On appeal, what was decided in Chevron Corp. v. Berlinger involving a documentary called “Crude” and the defendant's "journalistic privilege?" What did the U.S. Supreme Court rule regarding newsroom searches Zurcher v. Stanford Daily?  In determining whether a First Amendment-based privilege protects journalists from revealing confidential information and/or confidential sources in criminal trials in which the defendant is seeking the information, courts must balance the First Amendment against what other amendment?  What is a shield law?  About how many states have shield laws protecting journalists from revealing certain information and/or confidential sources in court proceedings?   The legal theory under which the plaintiff in Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. ultimately prevailed is ____.  What case in this chapter centered on the ability of journalists to refuse to testify in grand jury proceedings?   What case in this chapter centered on the ability of confidential sources to sue journalists who breach promises of confidentiality? Variations of the Dendrite and Cahill tests often are used by courts today in determining what?  In light of cases such as those involving James Risen of The New York Times in 2008, the head of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Lucy Dalglish, advises journalists not to do what?

Week 10:     (3/26-30)       READING:  
Chaps. 11 & 12
Free Press/Fair Trial.   Trial Remedies, Closed Trials.    Paper 3 assigned Thursday.  

Textbook Student Study Site

Some review materials, Chap. 11:  What is the definition of an impartial juror?    When a change of venue is granted in a state court, the judge is free to move the trial where?  Are names and addresses of jurors in a criminal case generally made public? What is a change of veniremen?  What does a trial judge have an absolute right to bar a juror from doing?  What has happened with  restrictive orders ('gag orders') against the press  Since the Supreme Court ruling in the Nebraska Press Association case?  Based on the rule enunciated in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, when may a judge consider imposing a restrictive order against the press?   Chap. 12:  In Supreme Court rulings on whether trials are presumptively open or closed, what has been the standard set? -->How is this applied regarding military tribunals?  Although the media have been granted access to many, maybe even most, documents filed in connection with a trial, reporters are routinely denied access to what?  How has the federal government decided regarding how suspected terrorists should be triedThe Press-Enterprise test is used by judges to determine what?  To overturn a conviction in a trial that has been televised, the defendant must show what?  What is true regarding cameras being permitted in state courts and in federal courts?
Week 11:           (4/2-6)      READING:  Chap.  13

TEST 3 TUESDAY -- all content since Mid Term, Chapters 9-12 and class content.

Thurs:   Begin Obscenity OR class meets at Spring Colloquium  /   Paper 3 due at start of class time Thursday.

Week 12:          (4/9-13)     
READING:  Chap.  13

Obscenity.      Paper 4 assigned Thursday.     
Week 13           (4/16-20)      READING:  Chap. 14

Creative Property/Copyright.     Paper 4 due Thursday at start of class.

Commercial Speech/Advertising Regulation.
Week 14           (4/23-27)        READING:  CHAP.  15

Commercial Speech/Advertising Regulation.    Paper 5 assigned Tuesday.   Review syllabus regarding paper grading.

Telecommunication Regulation.                 

Textbook Student Study Site                                                
Week 15            (4/30-5/4)          READING:  CHAP. 16

Telecommunication Regulation.    Paper 5 due at start of class Tuesday.   

TEST 4 Thursday.  All content since Test 3:  Chapters 13-16 and class content.
TR 11:00 Class Final: 

Tues. May 8, 10:30 am.  Comprehensive Final Exam.  Bring green Scantron and pencils.  Late arrivals lose points.