CUNY Journalism School Launches Website to Help Citizen Journalists Avoid Legal Risk

In a project headed by Associate Professor Geanne Rosenberg, CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism has launched a new website -- Top 10 Rules for Limiting Legal Risk. The project, which is carried out in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Citizen News Network, aims to provide training to citizen journalists on the legal rights and responsibilities that go along with newsgathering and online publication. From the press release:

"We are pleased to provide this resource to citizen journalists," said Stephen Shepard, dean of the journalism school. "The law in this area is rapidly developing, and citizen journalists don’t have the resources of a legal department to draw upon. Many of the rules are based on the same principles of fairness and caution that we teach to professional journalists at the school," Shepard added.

"This vital module with advice that could help keep bloggers out of jail is a great new addition to the Knight Citizen News Network, which already is the best one-stop-shop site for citizen journalism training," said Gary Kebbel, journalism program officer at Knight Foundation.

Basically, it's right up our alley AND its got some nifty videos in the teaching modules featuring David Ardia, the CMLP's co-founder and director, and yours truly. Self-aggrandizement aside, the website looks great and its ten rules are organized around practical strategies rather than legal doctrine, which makes it user-friendly.

Some of  these rules include:

  • Check your facts
  • Reveal secrets selectively
  • Consider what you copy
  • Learn recording limits
  • Don't abuse anonymity
We'll be linking heavily to these informative modules in our legal guide, the first sections of which we will roll out tomorrow.

Congrats to Geanne and everyone involved for providing this useful new resource.

(Note: The CMLP is funded in part by the Knight Foundation.)

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