Social media control

Social media control

It’s a given in today’s newsrooms. Twitter, Facebook and other social media are just part of the job. Reporters and anchors are expected to feed the beast, drum up followers and interact with them, and promote their stories and newscasts.  But who should own the journalist’s social media profile? News organizations think they should–in perpetuity–and […]

When photography is treated as a crime

When photography is treated as a crime

What’s the connection between photography and terrorism? Apparently, it depends on where you sit and when you ask the question. Just after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, investigators urged anyone who’d been near the finish line to share photos or video they’d taken around the time of the explosions. But the very same day, […]

Arrests of photographers hurt police in the pocketbook

Arrests of photographers hurt police in the pocketbook

Finally, some good news. Two pending cases against police departments for civil rights violations have been settled in favor of the photographers. What’s not clear is what impact the settlements will have on the continuing problem of professional photojournalists being arrested for doing their jobs. In the first case, Las Vegas police have agreed to […]

Photojournalists arrested for doing their jobs

Photojournalists arrested for doing their jobs

Covering fires is a routine part of a television news photographer’s job. Clint Fillinger has been doing it for more than 40 years in Milwaukee, so he knows the drill: Stay behind the yellow police tape and roll on everything. But this fall, while doing exactly that, Fillinger went from shooting the news to making it […]

Tips for dealing with confidential sources

Tips for dealing with confidential sources

How far will you go to protect the identity of sources who give you information on the condition that you not reveal their names? If you haven’t thought about it, you should. Every reporter eventually runs into a story so important that it’s worth getting the information on a confidential basis. But you’d better understand […]

Videotaping police action

Videotaping police action

A motorcyclist pulled over for speeding in Maryland uses his helmet camera to videotape an officer threatening him with a gun. State police later confiscate his cameras, computers and hard drives and charge him with a felony. A bystander records an arrest in Massachusetts with his cellphone and is promptly arrested himself. These two incidents three years […]

Career suicide?

Career suicide?

Being shunted off to weekends has never been a coveted career move for a main anchor at a local television station. For Charles Perez, it was the last straw. When Miami’s ABC affiliate changed his schedule this summer, he claimed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. When WPLG fired him, calling his accusation outrageous, […]

Have you been searched?

Have you been searched?

Journalists entering or leaving the United States are subject to the same rules as anyone else. Their electronic devices may be searched and the contents copied by the U.S. government even if they’re not suspected of wrongdoing. The policy has been in effect for more than a year but now the ACLU is challenging it […]

Is this post illegal?

Is this post illegal?

Read this before it’s too late. Tom Curley of the Associated Press and Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp are putting those of us in the blogosphere on notice: Re-publish our content and we will make you pay. According to an AP story, the two men made their comments addressing the World Media Summit in Beijing. “The […]

New hope for a federal shield law

New hope for a federal shield law

It’s been a long slog, but reporters are now closer to getting some legal protection in cases involving confidential sources. A compromise bill in Congress would keep journalists from being jailed or fined for refusing to name a source in most circumstances if a federal judge determines the public interest in the news is paramount. […]

How to avoid being sued

How to avoid being sued

“When the media goes to trial, you’re more likely to lose than to win.” That caution from attorney John Ronayne III should get everyone’s attention in newsrooms around the country. Ronayne warned that landing in court can be hideously expensive. “The average cost just to get a libel case ready to try was $100,000 ten years ago. That can put a huge dent in any newsroom’s budget.”