I knew that journalists have jobs that hold a lot of responsibility but I did not realize how significant their words really are.
When printing the stories of people’s lives, journalists have to pay close attention to how much they reveal about a story, whether they were given permission to print the story and whose reputation is at stake. Journalists have the power to expose any one at any time if they feel they have a story. As Harrower put it, that is a threat. Journalists can go to jail, get sued, be fired or receive angry phone calls based on what they decide to print.
One of the most interesting concepts involved in the law and ethics of journalism is libel. Libel is a “publication of a false statement that deliberately or carelessly damages someone’s reputation.” To that end, to be liable is “to be legally responsible or obligated.” (Harrower, 144) Anyone can sue for libel if they feel that a false statement has been printed about them. Filing for libel is different for celebrities than it is for the average person. Celebrities have to prove that what was printed was put out with actual spite. I did not realize that there were different rules with libel based on whether or not you were a public figure.
Copyright laws have always been a concern to the creators of any original piece of work. Today with the Internet and copy & paste and record & play, it is even easier to violate copyright laws especially on sites such as YouTube. My big question was whether or not parodies violated these laws. After reading Chapter 7 of our Harrower textbook, I know that the answer is no, they do not violate any laws. Parodies are a very specific genre. In order to not infringe upon any laws, additional information has to be added to the plot or characters in order to add that comic spin. Parodies become appropriate because an original plot has been twisted in order to create something completely different from the original.
After this reading, I definitely know what I can and can’t print as a journalist or even as an everyday YouTuber.