Date of Award:

5-1988

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Journalism and Communication

Committee Chair(s)

Deni Elliott

Committee

Deni Elliott

Committee

Charles Johnson

Committee

Richard Shafer

Abstract

The standard of judgment for determining fault in tort law as applied to libel is ambiguous. Juries are allowed to rule against media defendants by using a standard that does not consider professional journalistic practice. I argue that the determination of professional fault is beyond the understanding of a lay jury due to the unique professional practice of journalists. Juries find it far easier to empathize with private party plaintiffs than with media defendants. I abstract criteria from standards of conduct for the journalism profession and determine what the reasonable journalist might do in general practice. In conclusion, I offer suggestions for the implementation of these criteria as a solution to the current legal dilemma.

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Included in

Communication Commons

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