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late) Thursday, 3:10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

n., or by appointment.



Trager, Russomanno, Ross. The Law of Journalism and Mas s


Communication, Third Edition. [ISBN:




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Course Objectives: You will learn about the laws that affect the mass communication, as well as familiarize yourself with First Amendment theory and doctrine. You will get the practical legal knowledge you need to understand your rights as a journalist and professional communicator.

By the end of the course, you will:

Understand how the courts have balanced the First Amendment right of free speech and free press with other governmental interests (national security, privacy, libel, obscenity, access to information, confidentiality, free press v. fair trial). Understand how, why and when First Amendment rights can be limited. Apply the law to situations you may face as a journalist.

Attendance: I expect perfect attendance. No make-up exams will be given for unexcused absences. The only excused absence on exam day is one that has been approved by m e in advance. You will need a verified excuse - a note from your medical doctor, for example - to make up an exam.

Exams: There will be three exams. This includes the final. Material is drawn from the lectures and readings. Expect fill-in-the-blank, short answer, true/false and essay. Each test counts one third of your grade (undergrads). Grads will receive supplemental grading information on Day 1. Exam One: Tuesday, April 17.

Exam Two: Thursday, May

Exam Three (Finals Week): Tuesday, June 5, at 12:20 p.m.


Class participation: You will be expected to participate in class discussions and be ready to

discuss individual cases in a Socratic dialogue. The ability to discuss cases and threads of cases

when called upon and the ability to engage productively in this dialogue is essential. Be prepared to thoroughly discuss the following elements for each assigned court case:


What the case was about; wh o

sued who

and wh y


Resolution: Whic h court mad e the final decision and what that decision was.


Significance. What effect this court decision had on the First Amendment protection

and/or the media.


Application: How might this affect journalists and other media practitioners and how they do their jobs? How might you apply this court decision in a future case involving the same or a similar issue?

Core requirement: This is course is one of the core requirements for undergraduate majors in

the School of Journalism. To remain active in the program, you must earn at least a C in all core


Grading scale:




















64 and below

How to make an A in this class: Along with keeping up with the readings and taking good notes in every class, form study groups to go over the material with your colleagues. Don't wait until right before each exam to revisit your notes - they'll be "cold"! Focus on case outcomes. What was the importance of each decision and where does it fit into the chronology of the particular issue at hand? For example, when it comes to student press freedom, how did the U.S. Supreme Court alter student freedoms over the years? There is a line of important cases that track the evolution of student speech and the First Amendment.

Academic Misconduct: Academic honesty is expected at all times. All forms of academic dishonesty are violations of the Ohio University Code of Student Conduct. Examples of academic dishonesty include (but are not limited to) copying from others or using notes or books during an exam; taking an exam in the place of another person; permitting another student to cheat from you; or signing in persons other than yourself for class attendance. If you are found to be involved in academic dishonesty, you will receive a grade of F for the exam or for the class and referral to the Director of Judiciaries for possible suspension or expulsion. E-mail accounts: Please be aware that I also will communicate from you via email. Check your OU account regularly. I will respond to you as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours. Special note: If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify m e within the first two weeks of the quarter.