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College Holds Social Media Ethics and Law Discussion


Professor Clay Calvert and Professor Norm Lewis participated in a MyCJC Speaker Series for the College of Journalism and Communication’s social media journalism class on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Professor Calvert spoke about the legal facets of social media in which he compared the journalism style as “new wine being poured into old bottles,” while Professor Lewis focused on ethics.

The key areas Professor Calvert spoke about included defamation using social media in which someone can be held liable even if it was just a “retweet” of something that was defamatory and accurately attributing does not let someone off the hook. It is important to “be aware of what you tweet and what you post.” Other legal concerns while using social media include license agreement for content whether it is photos or recordings in which it is important to be clear and specify the terms of use. Finally, in regards to anonymity online, identity is discoverable.

Professor Norm Lewis provided a scenario in which a reporter for Hogtown (fictional publication) is reporting on a missing grad student who was later found dead. The suspect was arrested but is not willing to speak with any reporter. The Hogtown reporter researches and finds out that the suspect was involved in a sexual assault case while he was in high school with a young lady. The reporter knows that the young lady probably does not want to talk to any reporters. The reporter must decide whether or not he or she will friend-request the young lady on Facebook and if she does how to represent himself or herself and how the reporter will use the information. The scenario is based on a situation that occurred in New Haven, Connecticut in 2009.

Posted: January 24, 2013
Category: College News, Webcasts
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