banner

have a question? email the prof @ bc at berry.edu

Week-by-week | Course blog | U.S. Supreme Court blog | RCFP news | Class photo

Paper topics and research resources| Paper projects SPRING 2017

Note: This page will change; please refer to it frequently (and not merely print it out the first week of class).

Lose your paper syllabus? Download another one | Looking for a job? The Berry COM Job Bank


Introduction:

In COM 416 we will examine the delicate balance that exists between freedom and control of media in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is the major guarantee of freedom of expression. Because the courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, are ultimately responsible for interpreting the First Amendment and maintaining the balance between freedom and control, our study will focus on judicial decisions and reasoning. It is essential to recognize, though, that other very significant sources of press freedoms and controls exist. Therefore, we also will consider other factors that influence the balance between freedom and control of mediated communication, including statutory law, executive and administrative actions, and ethical concerns. Non-Communication majors, please note that this course does not take a case study approach, though judicial case review is an emphasis.

Course objectives:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
--The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

What you will need (required):
•Traeger, Russomano, Ross. The Law of Journalism & Mass Communication, 5th edition (SAGE Publishing)
. You do NOT have to buy the most recent edition.

What you may want (not required):
•Gregory Lisby, Mass Media Law in Georgia
•Index cards, for landmark cases
•Black's Law Dictionary

Blue Book of Law Citation


Stuff you need to know:

Instructor: Dr. Brian Carroll
Office: Laughlin Hall 100
Office phone: 706.368.6944 (anytime)
E-mail: bc@berry.edu OR bc@unc.edu
Home page: www.cubanxgiants.com

Course Web site and online syllabus (refer to it daily; do not merely print it out the first week of class; it will change): cubanxgiants.com/berry/416

Course blog: http://berrylaw.blogspot.com (for posts related to our class discussions, legal news of the day, and sources and items that might benefit your research projects)

Policies

Attendance: Be here every day on time, just as you would for a job, surgery or even a haircut. Everyone gets one unexcused absence >> no questions asked. After that, unexcused absences and/or latenesses will result in deductions from the "professionalism and participation" portion of your grade -- one point for each unexcused absence and/or late arrival. What is excused is at the instructor's discretion, so you are best served by discussing situations and extraordinary circumstances prior to class whenever possible.

Late submissions: Because the due dates for written assignments are known well in advance, there is no reason why the assignments cannot be completed on time. Moreover, it would be unfair to selectively grant extensions. All late work, therefore, will be penalized. Assignments received from one to three days late will be penalized one letter grade. Assignments received four to seven days late will be penalized two letter grades. No assignments will be accepted more than one week late. Failure to submit the final paper will result in automatic failure for the course.

Distractions: I am easily distracted, so, please, no mobile phones, texting, laptop clacking or chatter. Be professional and civil. During class and labs, no email, texting, Facebooking or mindless surfing. These activities prevent you from getting the information you need, and they are distracting to your classmates and to me. If I tell you to stop, then stop -- immediately and completely.

Readings: All reading assignments should be completed before the class period for which they are assigned. You may be called on in class to answer questions related to the day’s readings. In addition, I will expand upon and update the material in the texts. It will be extremely difficult for you to follow the lectures, participate in discussion, respond to my questions and ask intelligent questions if you come to class ill prepared. This is especially true for our mock trials, during which your classmates will be depending on you to pull your weight.

How you will be graded:

Two exams (midterm, final) 50% total (or 25% each)
Research paper 40% (breakdown below)
Professionalism and participation 10%
Total
100%

To compute your final grade, add up your point totals, apply the appropriate percentages, then refer to the grading system summarized here:

A
93-100
A-
90-92
B+
88-89
B
83-87
B-
80-82
C+
78-79
C
73-77
C-
70-72
D+
68-69
D
60-67
F
59 and below

Definitions of the grades can be found in the Berry College Bulletin. “A” students will demonstrate an outstanding mastery of course material and will perform far above that required for credit in the course and far above that usually seen in the course. The “A” grade should be awarded sparingly and should identify student performance that is relatively unusual in the course.

Course assignments

Exams: The instructor favors short answer and essay questions. However, depending on class size, it is possible that machine-graded answer sheets will be used. You might, therefore, be tested using multiple-choice and true/false questions, as well.

Mock trials: A few times during the semester, you will try a case. You will familiarize yourself with the facts of the case and the legal questions in play. You will, as a member of a legal team comprised of your classmates, argue an outcome before the judge (the instructor). Preparation and participation in these mock trials, which previous classes have found rewarding and even fun, are components of your professionalism and participation grade.

Research paper: In most cases, students will choose a media-related legal case that has not yet been decided at the U. S. Supreme Court level. Students will argue one side or the other, but remember that we are champions of the First Amendment. Students will need to read the actual court documents; these are the primary sources. Students will base arguments on research found in peer-reviewed law journals and reviews. This paper will, therefore, be persuasive in nature, demonstrating research in support of a legal position on a mass media-related legal issue.

The paper should be typed in 12-point Times New Roman. The format should be double-spaced. The length should be about 10 pages (give or take a page). Style guidelines will be discussed in class, but generally the style used is up to the author. Simply identify somewhere on the paper the style that is in effect. The important thing is to choose one (APA, MLA, Blue Book, or Chicago), then to strictly and consistently adhere to that style.

Both your topic and your approach or argument must be approved by the professor. This is to protect you. If for the topic (and title) submission you do not have a workable topic, one may be assigned to you. Again, this is to help you. Students in the past have surrendered precious research time floundering with a complex topic. A full bibliography must accompany the paper or the paper will not be graded. Copies of the full peer-reviewed articles might be requested, as well.

Finally, the student’s signature somewhere on the submitted paper is required and will signify adherence to the Honor Code.

The 40% weight assigned to the research project breaks down in this way:

topic/paper title (the name of your dish) 10 points
paper outline (your recipe) 10 points
tentative bibliography (a list of your ingredients) 15 points
rough draft & peer editing (doing some cooking) 15 points
final paper (your dish) 50 points
total
100 points

Your final point total (X/100) will be multplied by .40 to yield the 40% component of your final course grade.

Berry Viking code
Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the college’s life and work. The code is not just policy, it is foundational to the academic environment we enjoy and in which scholarship thrives. It is in force in this classroom.

For the complete Viking Code, please consult the student handbook. In short, each student is “expected to recognize constituted authority, to abide by the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others.” The College’s mission, in part, commits to a community of integrity and justice. During an era when ethics are sometimes suspect, there seems no higher goal toward which students ought to strive than that of personal honor.

Students with special needs
If you have special needs of any kind, including learning disabilities, please let me know. Come discuss it with me. I want to make sure on the front end that we prevent any problems associated with the course. The Academic Support Center suggests: “Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodation in this course are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Center in Memorial Library as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.”

Finally, I believe we are here for a good time, not a long time, so let’s have some fun!

Week-by-week

(subject to change, so check back frequently, regularly)

Calendar
Topics & Cases
Readings/Assignments

Week 1: Jan. 9
clear

Introductions, syllabus, key course concepts

What is law for? What does it do? How does it do these things? | The American Legal System

>Meet USSC justice Sonia Sotomayor
>Meet USSC justice Clarence Thomas
>Meet USSC justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Police use of body cams, and access issues

Read: Course outline and syllabus; Traeger textbook, Ch. 1; Jefferson on religious freedom

BC podcast (optional, not required): Types of Law & the Legal Sys.

Week 2: Jan. 16

American Legal System (.ppt) & First Amendment

 

No class Monday: MLK Day
Read: Traeger, Ch. 2; Historical development (.ppt); Bill of Rights; Areopagitica by John Milton (.pdf download)

Just for funsies: Analysis of Bilbo Baggins's Hobbit contract

Week 3: Jan. 23

First Amendment & Prior restraints -- censorship (.ppt)

>National Counterterrorism Center | a backgrounder

>John Oliver and Net Neutrality and where to tell the FCC what you think ("Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet")

>Do protest marches work?

 

Read: Traeger, Ch. 2; Three Principles of Academic Honesty (Word .doc)

View: Plagiarism tutorial

Due Friday: Topic/paper title. Typed up, printed out and turned in (no email)

Sample paper topic submission (1) (Word .doc)
Sample paper topic submission (2) (Word .doc)

Week 4: Jan. 30

First Amendment & Sedition -- censorship, contin'd

Incorporation

Cases:
Barron v. Baltimore | Schenck v. U.S. | Abrams v. U.S.

The Red Scare (The Smith Act): McCarthy hearings

Read: Traeger, Chs. 2 & 3

Due Wednesday: Topic submission re-submits

For Friday: View The Most Dangerous Man in America from 46:30 to the end, at Kanopy (upward)

Just for funsies: The Texas Tribune (access to information)

Week 5: Feb. 6

School censorship | Cases: Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier; Hosty v. Carter | How to protest on your campus | Post-election, hate-motivated campus incidents

Read: Traeger, Ch. 3

For funsies: Trademark violation? ESPN (NOT) The Magazine

Week 6: Feb. 13

Wrapping up school censorship | Hate speech | RAV v. St. Paul

Wednesday: Newsroom (BC at Westminster College)

Stealing newspapers is in fact theft | A new low in student press freedom, at UK | Student press at Harvard: Blowing lid on men's soccer team | Women's team response, in the Harvard Crimson | Award-winning podcast from University of Oklahoma on expression rights at a public university

UPDATE: Wesleyan newspaper has funding cut

Read: Traeger, Ch. 3, Ch. 12 (hate speech)

Due Friday: Research paper bibliographies. Typed up, printed out (no email).

Sample law paper bibliography (need at least 5 peer-reviewed or refereed law review/journal articles)
Second law paper bibliography example

Week 7: Feb. 20

Libel (PPT)

NOTE: Libel will NOT be covered on the midterm examination.

Read: Traeger, Ch. 4-5

Due Wednesday: bibliography re-submits. Typed up, printed out (no email).

Study Guide for midterm (Word.doc)

Week 8: Feb. 27

Libel (.ppt download) | Is this libel?

Cases: Gertz v. Welch | Cases: New York Times v. Sullivan | the Times ad

Safe spaces? Van Jones, Institute of Politics, U of Chicago

Read: Traeger, Chs. 4-5 | How to cite a law case

Listen: podcast of final libel lecture (.wav file)

BC's journal article on anonymous online speech that defames

Just for funsies: Latest issue of News Media & the Law;Legal guide for media startups

Midterm Exam, Wednesday

Week 9: March 6

Libel, continued

Melania Trump threatens news orgs with libel suits

No class next week: SPRING BREAK!!

No class Friday: BC at a conference

Read: Traeger, Chs. 4-5

Due Wednesday: paper outlines. Typed up, printed out and turned in (no email).

Sample paper outline 1 (Word .doc)
Sample paper outline 2 (Word .doc)

Best handout of the course: Tips for better law papers (PDF)

Week 10: March 20

Privacy (.ppt)

The Right to Be Forgotten (John Oliver) | Do Not Track collaborative documentary project

Opt-in/opt-out: New rules for broadband providers | FCC's fact sheet on the new rules

Read: Traeger, Chs. 6-7

Due Wednesday: outline re-submits, if any

Listen (optional): podcast of final privacy lecture (.wav file)

Week 11: March 26

Gathering Information, Source Confidentiality, Shield & Reporter's Privilege

Cases: Branzburg v. Hayes

Freedom of Information Act wiki from RCFP

Gathering Information: Sunshine and Light
(Access to information .ppt)
| The Sunlight Foundation | The Clery Act at Penn State

For funsies: Is this what you want? | hee-hee

Read: Traeger, Chs. 8-9; Georgia Sunshine Laws; Freedom of Information Act | How to File a FOIA Request| Media Reform Action Guide| ACLU guidelines for photographers on public spaces | CQ on federal shield law (pps. 1-15); Article on protecting sources (Toobin)
Surf:
Legal Guide for Bloggers
Listen:
podcast of "sources" lecture (.wav file)

Surf: Searching public records

Week 12: April 3

Free press/Free trial

Case: Sheppard v. Maxwell | another Sheppard source | Time magazine coverage of the case

For funsies: James Risen on The Daily Show (source confidentiality)

University of Missouri protests v. First Amendment (seriously?)

Read: Traeger Ch. 10

Due Friday: smooth drafts to the prof; workshop partners will get them Monday, April 10.

Sample paper 1 (Word .doc)
Sample paper 2 (Word .doc)
Sample paper 3 (Word .doc)
Sample paper 4 (Word .doc)

Law paper checklist (Word .doc)

Week 13: April 10

FCC regulation of broadcast

Regulation of Advertising/Commercial Speech (.ppt)
Case: Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

Read: Traeger Ch. 14

Look: Spectrum allocation chart (.pdf download)

Listen (if you want, not required): commercial speech podcast No. 1 of lecture (.wav file) AND No. 2 (.wav)

Due Friday: Reactions, workshop reports, marked up manuscripts

Draft Workshop Guidelines (.pdf download)
Workshop Report (what you will submit; .doc download)

Week 14: April 17

Copyright law

Explanation of Fair Use via YouTube

UNC J-School alum case study

Read: Traeger, Ch. 11, 13

Week 15: April 24

Copyright & Intellectual Property law

Wrapping up and finishing out

Due Monday: Final, finished law paper

Study: Study Guide for the final

 

Final Exam: TBA

Commencement: May 6

pepp patty

keep your eyes on the prize!

Paper Topic Ideas and Media Law Resources

In need of a paper topic? These sites present current news about the media and the law. Check these daily because the content changes.

AEJMC law paper abstracts: From the Association for Educators in Journalism & Mass Communication, this page lists accepted paper abstracts for AEJ's law division, papers that were presented at the annual convention. Scroll down to "Law Division." There are also abstracts available for previous AEJMC conventions.

Amicus: Slate.com's podcast series on (mostly) the U.S. Supreme Court, but with a current events spin or angle. Good source for thinking about possible paper topics.

Citizen Action Project: Provides researchers with direct access to state laws, audits, state freedom of information experts and access laws, among many other things. Information covers all 50 states, so an excellent resource for anyone doing a project on one or more states.

Citizen Media Law Project : Legal Resources for citizen media, from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Cornell Law School Legal Institute: A full service site with links to news, cases, legal topics by category.

Electronic Frontier Foundation:   Based in San Francisco, EFF is a donor-supported membership organization that lobbies for basic rights online and is an advocate for free expression in the digital age. There is always plenty of material here for those interested in Internet law.

EPIC: EPIC stands for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. It is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. If you're interested in privacy issues on the Internet, this should be your first stop.

Free Expression Policy Project: Founded in 2000, FEPP provides research and advocacy on free speech, copyright, and media democracy issues. In May 2004, FEPP became part of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Subheads include Art Censorship, Censorship History, Censorship of Youth, Internet, Copyright, Media Policy, Political Speech, Sex and Censorship, Violence in the Media.

IPTAblog, about the relationship between law, communication, technology and the creative arts, by Andrew Raff

Jim Romenesko's media news blog: Updated daily with news from around the country about the media. There are often good gossipy tidbits in here that can lead to a media law paper.

Law.com: Think of this as a daily news Web site for practicing lawyers. You can search for topics by legal area and sign up for various e-mail lists.

Lawyer Resource Center: The First Amendment, with a listing of resources categorized by the five freedoms articulated in and by the First Amendment, from a legal resource company called LegalMatch.

Media Law Center: The MLRC – formerly the Libel Defense Resource Center – is a non-profit information clearinghouse originally organized by a number of media organizations to monitor developments and promote First Amendment rights in the libel, privacy and related legal fields. The "Hot Topics" section is especially useful.

Mediawire news blog: From Poynter Institute, a news blog about media, often reporting on legal issues vis-a-vis journalism and/or media.

Politechbot: Politech is the moderated mailing list of politics and technology run by Declan McCullagh, a cyber muckraker for WIRED magazine. Topics include privacy, free speech, the role of government and corporations, antitrust, and more. This is another good place for information on Internet law topics.

Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press: The Committee is a major national -- and international -- resource in free speech issues, disseminating information in a variety of forms, including a quarterly legal review, a bi-weekly newsletter, a 24-hour hotline, and various handbooks on media law issues. Academicians, state and federal agencies, and Congress regularly call on the Committee for advice and expertise, and it has become the leading advocate for reporters' interests in cyberspace.

Tully Center for Free Speech: The Center's mission is to "educate university students and the public about the important value of free speech." At Syracuse University.

University of Iowa Library's Communication & Media Law Resources: It is just what it is called, and the page has an excellent search function by topic at the bottom.

You Are Being Watched: Spotlights the high costs of camera surveillance systems, both in terms of money and civil liberties. Do we want a society where we live under an ever-watchful video eye?

***

Links to government Web sites that may assist you in your research. 

U.S. Supreme Court: This is a link to the U.S. Supreme Court's official Web site, which contains opinions, links to oral arguments and other information about the court. Be sure to check out the Court's media center, where you'll find podcasts of oral arguments, among other cool artifacts.

Thomas: Thomas is a complete guide to U.S. Congressional activity. Here, you'll find the text of laws, bills and hearings. For a complete list of what Thomas offers, see this section.

FirstGov: This is the "yahoo" guide to the U.S. government on the Web. The site was launched in September 2000 as the only official U.S. Government portal to 30 million pages of government information, services, and online transactions.

The Federal Communications Commission: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions. This site offers links to regulations, news, complaint forms, bureaus within the FCC and licensing information.

The Federal Trade Commission: The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. This site offers links to regulations, news, actions and opinions, plus much more.

The U.S. Copyright Office: The Copyright Office advises Congress on anticipated changes in U.S. copyright law; analyzes and assists in the drafting of copyright legislation and legislative reports and provides and undertakes studies for Congress; offers advice to Congress on compliance with international agreements and  is also where claims to copyright are registered. This site has links to copyright law, international copyright treaties, general information and copyright studies.

Library of Congress: Here's where you can search the U.S. Library of Congress database on the Web. The Library of Congress Online Catalog contains over 12 million bibliographic records representing books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, cartographic materials, music, sound recordings, and visual materials from the Library's collections.

U.S. Constitution: This is a link to Cornell University page that has posted the U.S. Constitution on the Web.

***

Look Up Cases

FindLaw: This is a complete Web resource for cases, legal news, legal bulletin boards and legal help. Many cases can be found here.

LEXISOne: This link will let you search for cases on the LEXIS database from any web connection. If on campus, better to access through Memorial Library's online databases.

U.S. Supreme Court: This is a link to the U.S. Supreme Court's official Web site, which contains opinions, links to oral arguments and other information about the court.

***

Online research sources


go home
go to the top

©2017 cubanxgiants.com

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I believe this constitutes a "fair use" of such material under Title 17, U.S.C. § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.