A lawyerly look at what threatens journalistic free speech liberties.
As a former journalist, Gajda (Law/Tulane Univ.; The Trials of Academe: The New Era of Campus Litigation, 2009) critiques and advises on matters of privacy and free speech with a keen journalistic eye. She explores the ways public scrutiny by news media (while protected under the guise of “newsworthiness”) tarnishes the notion of public privacy. As First Amendment constitutional protections for the press continue to expand, the “balance between privacy rights and public interests” becomes increasingly skewed. The author cites the current wave of ubiquitous social media, where personal information is willingly and willfully disseminated, as a prime instigator fueling the privacy rights debate. But at what point do First Amendment rights trump personal privacy rights? Her thoughtful discussion includes chapters juxtaposing journalism’s former golden age with the lax media standards of today’s paparazzi and shock reporters, where “push-the-envelope behavior has elevated privacy concerns to new levels.” Writing in concise, authoritative language, Gajda reiterates the significance of free speech, freedom of the press and the preservation of personal liberties within a complex debate that has become frustratingly blurred by legal ambiguities and loopholes. Fully utilizing (if overly reliant upon) pivotal court cases, she also highlights ruthless vigilante programs like To Catch a Predator and stories of misbehaving celebrities who have been scrutinized for wrongdoings by exploitative websites infamous for straddling ethical boundaries. Ultimately, Gajda writes, this is subject matter that will fester for decades as digital and social media erode the protective facade of personal privacy and evaporate the guidelines of what is considered newsworthy. She concludes with an appeal for change in how the law appropriates the First Amendment framework in both the private sector and within news media circles.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)