Law Assignment

1. What are the elements of a defamation claim, whether it is libel (written) or slander (oral)?

a. It must be a statement of fact b. It must be false  c. It must be published, externally, to a third party   d. It must be specific, not a blanket statement   e. It must be able to cause harm, i.e. it must be considered defamatory by the society-at-large

In the US, the burden of proving defamation lies with the plaintiff

2. If someone gives you her name and password to access her employer’s website, should you use that information to access the site?

No you should not, as by using the name and password you are technically pretending to be someone else. It’s akin to walking into an event with someone else’s ID card in real life.

3. How much time should you give the subject of an article or video to comment before publication?

There is no specific required timeframe. The subject should be given every opportunity to comment before publication, keeping in mind story deadlines.

Contacting a subject for comment should be distinguished from sharing a pre-publication story with them. It is not recommended to share your story with a source/subject before publication.

4.  What is the rule on reading back quotes to sources?  (Something of a trick question)

There is no legal requirement on reading back quotes to sources, although there may be a policy on it at your workplace.

If you do decide to read back quotes to sources, try to do it shortly after they spoke the particular quotes (i.e. at the end of the session). Do not wait until the next day, because sources are likely to forget what they said and may contest their own quotes.


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