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You are the Free Republic—Enhancement and Initiative Announcement

Posted on 05/08/2012 3:35:15 PM PDT by Admin Moderator

We can’t rely on the media, even the alternative media. Free Republic is announcing a new initiative that gives you a platform. We want to leverage the most powerful minds on the right to make a difference. To do this, we want to bring a new level of activism, the citizen investigator. In the spirit of 1750’s The Pennsylvania Gazette published by Ben Franklin and of Andrew Breitbart.

For the longest time, our primary focus has been on looking at what the media presents and investigating it or discussing it. We have been missing something, YOU!

Jim has created a new news category, “FReeper Editorial” (freepered) for you to post your investigative reports. We are working on getting this promoted to a sidebar and other ways to promote your work but here are the basics.

No longer will quality vanities posted in this topic be frowned upon. Free Republic needs to become about you. We are tired of waiting for the media to come around to us, it is time we take our many, many members and become an army. What was once was your vanity is now your megaphone.

To do this right, we need your help. Initially, we are trying to have this as a smooth launch, and creating the new news category is a baby step towards something big. We ask just a few things.

  1. Keep this to stories you personally uncover or are a part of. This isn’t about saying what someone else has already said.
  2. No blog pimping. This is for exclusive Free Republic articles.
  3. Think about our big battle now. Please continue to post personal thoughts on history, religion, science, or whatever isn’t happening now news, in their appropriate categories.
  4. Keep it civil. Need we say more?
  5. No “hitting it”.
  6. Talk to us. Please let us know your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions for this.
  7. Be open to the cultural change this means for the site. This is good, but it does involve change. This doesn’t mean that the Dan Rather case is a once in a decade event, but the model for a thousand similar events.
  8. It is up to you. Take part. Take Action. Have fun.

Stay tuned for more change, enhancements, and opportunities that go along with this. - Your friendly neighborhood Mod Squad with blessings of the big dog himself. We are not quite legion, but we are a bag of kittens.


TOPICS: Announcements; Breaking News; FReeper Editorial; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: 2012; adminlectureseries; citizenjournalist; editorial; elections; enhancement; fr; freepered; freepereditorial; freeperjournalists; freepthispoll; freerepublic; frjournalism; jimrobinson; keyword; modlectureseries; originalarticle
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To: Jim Robinson
Oh, and one more thing JR, Lets not just limit vulgar inappropriate, sophomoric language and innuendos, prohibit it completely unless it is a direct quote attributed to the subject of the article.
101 posted on 05/08/2012 5:05:55 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Admin Moderator

Love it. Finally FR grants serious conservatives with research or knowledge or ideas equality with MSM article posts!

These are not “vanities.”. This is conservative activism. Let’s roll.


102 posted on 05/08/2012 5:06:26 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: re_nortex; Admin Moderator

How about this?

We let the same ‘rules’ govern all threads (well... except for the Smoky Backroom).

And let PEER REVIEW determine a thread’s success.
And let the Viking Kitties ZOT any bogus entries.
And no whining if YOUR THREAD is removed.


103 posted on 05/08/2012 5:06:54 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: eastforker

Well, you know my opinion regarding people who cannot stomach frank talk.


104 posted on 05/08/2012 5:08:24 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: re_nortex; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson


I think all of your suggestions merit consideration, particularly your first and third, although I am not opposed to your number two either.


105 posted on 05/08/2012 5:08:40 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: Admin Moderator

Awesome! Freepers rule!


106 posted on 05/08/2012 5:10:08 PM PDT by mom4melody
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To: UCANSEE2

Not good. In this day and age the moment you hit post, google has got it, and it will never go away.It will come back and haunt you.


107 posted on 05/08/2012 5:10:50 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Milagros
"Eagerly looking forward to all the enhancements. I am guessing, the idea of having an APP. came up as well. In any case, I am praying/wishing for an always betterment of this great site - true guardian of this great nation."

Amen.

108 posted on 05/08/2012 5:11:39 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Time for a write-in campaign...Darryl Dixon for President)
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To: Admin Moderator

I have two investigative pieces I wrote 8 years ago that apply today. I may have to dust those off.


109 posted on 05/08/2012 5:12:12 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Jim Robinson; Lazamataz

Thank you Jim.

To know that there is at least one other MAN out there that will put his name on it, and makes that stand, really means now that there are 2!

I include Laz on this, not to speak specifically for him, but in a comparison study (I laugh), I would make that 3.


110 posted on 05/08/2012 5:14:12 PM PDT by bigheadfred (MY PET TAPEWORM (OBIWAN) IS AN INSANE MILITARY HATING LEFTIST)
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To: Jim Robinson
Frank and being vulgar and the use of sophomoric innuendos are two different things.
111 posted on 05/08/2012 5:15:10 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: mnehring

I’ll see your 2 and raise you 9 chapters from my ongoing book project ;)

Better here than buried in an E-book.

“Thinking Critically”

Doublespeak, Magical Thinking and the lack of critical thought that led us down the rabbit hole


112 posted on 05/08/2012 5:16:40 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Lazamataz

This is so right on that you would be the catalyst for the change. Long time freepers rock. Now to find your article.


113 posted on 05/08/2012 5:17:00 PM PDT by swheats (America, America God shed His grace on thee.)
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To: eastforker

You sure are trying to get my goat recently. How about taking me off your ping preferences. Not interested.


114 posted on 05/08/2012 5:18:25 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: bigheadfred

If I’m posting on this sidebar, I would have no problem putting my real name on it.


115 posted on 05/08/2012 5:18:46 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Norm Lenhart

I’m eager to see your work, Norm.


116 posted on 05/08/2012 5:20:17 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Admin Moderator

bump for later


117 posted on 05/08/2012 5:22:56 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: Jim Robinson

Ok jim, you answered me and I answered you back. You have pinged me a dozen times today, Would you rather say someone had intimate relation, or do you prefer they hooked up and had a good $%@ck. I f you are going to present these artcles to the public as a product of FR, a conservative website, I think you should reconsider. If not, it would make us no better than a supermarket tabloid or even a faction of the westboro church.


118 posted on 05/08/2012 5:24:53 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Lazamataz

I can freepmail you the roughs I have so far if you like. The main problem in writing it is that daily, there are more ludicrous examples coming out of the MSM and DC than what I have already written and used for examples. ;)

Just a few tweaks and it’s doable as an ongoing article series though.


119 posted on 05/08/2012 5:25:25 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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{This really is just for news articles that would be breaking news worthy.
NOT for religion, history, UFOs, philosophy, pets, midgets, ponies, or jokes.}

BOOKMARK


120 posted on 05/08/2012 5:27:59 PM PDT by potlatch (~~And the truth IS what counts, RIGHT ? ~~)
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To: eastforker
Dude, whaddya doin'?????!?

I think people agree with you, if this is a serious-journalism effort, we don't go nuts with cussin', obviously. But .... why are you pokin' JR? You're gonna earn a time out or something!

121 posted on 05/08/2012 5:29:04 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Admin Moderator

bump


122 posted on 05/08/2012 5:34:33 PM PDT by goodnesswins (What has happened to America?)
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To: Lazamataz

I have not posted in 2 days after sunday night fiasco. The title of this thread is WE ARE THE FREE REPUBLIC, Please give us ideas and suggestions it said, when we do, it is met with high resistence. Are we or are we not THE FREEREPUBLIC! You figure it out. I have tried to wrap my head around what is going on. I gave this article high praise, and now I am the bad guy for offering a decent suggestion?


123 posted on 05/08/2012 5:37:25 PM PDT by eastforker (Don't be ornery for Romney, instead Root for Newt!)
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To: Lazamataz

LOL

I will not say what I was gonna say Laz.

But you can add me to your list.


124 posted on 05/08/2012 5:41:10 PM PDT by Steve Newton (And the Wolves will learn what we have shown before-We love our sheep we dogs of war. Vaughn)
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To: Admin Moderator

Lugar’s gone and FR is going journalistic.

Finally, some good news for our Republic!! :)


125 posted on 05/08/2012 5:43:08 PM PDT by Reddy (B.O. stinks)
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To: Lazamataz; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson
This original to Free Republic article got worldwide play in December 2010:

Media Creates New Palin Scandal! Sarah Accused of Bringing Hairdresser on Haiti Trip

AP photo and caption preserved at Newsbusters.

126 posted on 05/08/2012 5:43:40 PM PDT by kristinn (Dump the Chump in 2012)
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To: eastforker

You’re just on the outs now. Lay low, it will pass. You know yer my pal.


127 posted on 05/08/2012 5:44:24 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: kristinn

You are another of the Rock Star posters here. Please be a regular contributor!!!


128 posted on 05/08/2012 5:45:46 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Norm Lenhart
Doublespeak, Magical Thinking and the lack of critical thought that led us down the rabbit hole

Norm, I think you and I are thinking along the same lines. Analysis of political speech (NLP) viral and ambush marketing, virtual flashmobs, etc. I wrote about this four years before Obammy came on the scene.

129 posted on 05/08/2012 5:53:09 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Lazamataz; All
16 posted on Tue May 08 2012 17:48:34 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) by Lazamataz: “Again: Thank you so much for this initiative. It may make FR a good alternative to such places as Red State, and it could become a huge draw, even to the chattering classes.:)”

Agreed. We all know there are people here using anonymous screen names who are significant players in the conservative world. Some of them cannot identify themselves publicly and for others it would not be prudent to do so.

However, there is a significant amount of clout here in our “crowdsourcing” community and Free Republic could quite realistically fill a role that RedState, TownHall, and others are filling now.

Don't take that as criticism of those forums. I have accounts on them as well, in one case probably going back several years before I registered on Free Republic in 2006 (though I'd been reading FR before that). I almost never post comments on those other forums, though I read a lot, and I believe this is an additional opportunity for Free Republic to grow its readership as well as its service to readers.

130 posted on 05/08/2012 5:54:20 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
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To: Lazamataz
Thanks. So are you! I'll contribute when the muse is upon me. Like this from 2009:

Exposure By Free Republic Forces Huffington Post to Pull Article Threatening Glenn Beck

131 posted on 05/08/2012 6:01:59 PM PDT by kristinn (Dump the Chump in 2012)
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To: mnehring

It blows my mind that people accept the most insane statements and actions at face value today. No thought at all goes into analyzing them. But then again, when the govt changed the curriculum (by design) to exclude things like critical thought/’how’ to think’ and the media abandoned the 5W’s of Journalism in their reporting, the world we live in is the only possible outcome.


132 posted on 05/08/2012 6:02:56 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Lazamataz
And here's a more recent example of original to Free Republic reporting getting results:

Free Republic Victory: Vile Palin Sex Slur Comic Withdraws From Elite Media Dinner

133 posted on 05/08/2012 6:06:30 PM PDT by kristinn (Dump the Chump in 2012)
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To: kristinn; aphid
Our own aphid was the first to spot Bristol as her mother's hairdresser.
134 posted on 05/08/2012 6:10:13 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: kristinn; Lazamataz
You are another of the Rock Star posters here. Please be a regular contributor!!!

BTTT

135 posted on 05/08/2012 6:12:04 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: kristinn

Awww. Thanks! And can’t wait to see your new entries!


136 posted on 05/08/2012 6:13:11 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Norm Lenhart; LS
ut then again, when the govt changed the curriculum (by design) to exclude things like critical thought/’how’ to think’ and the media abandoned the 5W’s of Journalism in their reporting, the world we live in is the only possible outcome.

We need to bring FReeper LS in on the conversation. This is right up his ally.

137 posted on 05/08/2012 6:14:29 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Lazamataz
If I’m posting on this sidebar, I would have no problem putting my real name on it.

Beaker Eeker?

138 posted on 05/08/2012 6:15:54 PM PDT by Eaker (When somebody hands you your arse, don't give it back saying "This needs a little more tenderizing.")
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To: Admin Moderator

Actually the Free Republic has been becoming less relevant to me over the past couple of years.

It’s simply the “my way or the highway” attitude. My views are pretty much “Freeper Standard”, what I was uncomfortable with, was others being forced out.

Is this new initiative a sign of a more open Free Republic, or simply more open along a pre-anointed path?


139 posted on 05/08/2012 6:23:01 PM PDT by Mark was here (The dog he ate was a composite ... wasn't one dog, was an amalgam of many breeds, like a casserole.)
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To: Admin Moderator
Awesome, and its about time!

Lets keep this very high quality, I sometimes cringe at what I see at other news "outlets", yes, mostly those smaller "conservative" ones.

Congressman Billybob would have been proud....

140 posted on 05/08/2012 6:26:44 PM PDT by Paradox (I want Obama defeated. Period.)
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To: Admin Moderator

I like it! As we in the TEA Party movement have made huge strides up here in Western New York but no one really reports on it, they ignore us.

We have events, candidates, open candidate forums, protests etc.... I personally have unearthed mounds of information around the corruption in New York State government in Albany that stretches to the small communities.

This is a great idea!!


141 posted on 05/08/2012 6:27:54 PM PDT by The Mayor ("If you can't make them see the light, let them feel the heat" — Ronald Reagan)
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To: onyx; aphid

Yep. Sarah Palin has a lot of folks looking out for her on FR.


142 posted on 05/08/2012 6:37:38 PM PDT by kristinn (Dump the Chump in 2012)
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To: lonevoice

Bump for later


143 posted on 05/08/2012 6:38:18 PM PDT by lonevoice (Klepto Baracka Marxo, impeach we much.)
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To: PALIN SMITH; Jim Scott; nutmeg

FYI


144 posted on 05/08/2012 7:29:29 PM PDT by mojo114 (Pray for our military)
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To: ThomasThomas; Admin Moderator
When I went to UPS I found that they now require a photo Id. to ship or receive a package. I researched this and found it stems from TSA requirements. I would like to create a list of places where a photo Id is required because of government regulations. People would post places they were required to show Id. Voter Id laws is thought behind this. Would this be a proper thread for this new news category, “FReeper Editorial” .

UPS requires photo ID now. . .that's news to me.

I think your comment suggests a new category....a concise "reference thread" for collecting information that is relevant to conservative issues. Large threads with lots of comments are interesting if one has the time to spend, but a reference thread could be short enough to read through, and only then add information that is missing (i.e. not the normal comment format where anything goes).

Your suggestion of a thread listing all instances where photo ID is required is relevant to the voter ID issue. A thread to list all instances of where we are taxed would be useful.

An example of a reference thread would be the copyright list thread (although it is over 700 replies now).

145 posted on 05/08/2012 7:45:00 PM PDT by deks ("...the battle of our time is the battle of liberty against the overreach of the federal government")
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bump


146 posted on 05/08/2012 7:47:41 PM PDT by holly go-rightly
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To: kristinn

I’ve done a LOT of animal rights/environmentalism stuff in the last few years.


147 posted on 05/08/2012 7:51:59 PM PDT by SCalGal (Friends don't let friends donate to H$U$ or PETA.)
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To: Jim Robinson; onyx; kristinn; RicocheT; Admin Moderator
92 posted on Tue May 08 2012 18:48:22 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) by Jim Robinson: “As always, the FR disclaimer applies. All opinions posted to FR are the opinions of the original poster and may or may not represent the opinions of FR management.”

Jim, I've already said this is a great idea. I'm pinging this to Onyx and Kristinn due to their longstanding roles in Free Republic, and since I've seen their comments already on this thread.

I do, however, want to echo the comments from RicocheT and others — libel is serious business. Once people move out of the realm of opinion and start reporting, many of the legal protections that apply to “fair comment and criticism” no longer are in play.

Reporting isn't rocket science, but there are rules, and the consequences of breaking them include legal bills which can be devastating.

I believe the requirement that people have some level of prior approval to start posts in this new section may be critical, not only for quality reasons but also for legal reasons. By requiring some level of prior approval, you can avoid somebody deliberately posting libel to get you sued. On the other hand, there are also legal implications involved once you start approving specific articles or approving specific people to post articles, as opposed to being a largely unmoderated forum — but you already know that from the long-ago lawsuit on copyright issues.

Jim, I'm assuming you have an attorney on some sort of volunteer retainer system and lots of legal advice already went into this. California law will be key and I have no idea what specific land mines may be out there in your local legal environment. That's what lawyers get paid to know.

I do know this is a great idea and I'd love to see it go full speed ahead — just as long as it doesn't hit a land mine that blows up Free Republic.

Here are some general principles which apply across the board regardless of jurisdiction which I routinely give to freelancers and new reporters who don't have formal journalism training. Unfortunately, I sometimes have to retrain people on the basics if their focus in the past has been on fluffy features rather than hard news. An even worse problem is that sometimes reporters had a bad editor who didn't understand basics of libel law and let people get away without basic fact-checking, or (more commonly in small newspapers) had an overcautious editor who was more afraid than he needed to be.

None of what follows will be new to anyone with any significant experience in full-time or regular freelance reporting for a well-edited daily newspaper. Most of this is basic entry-level J-school stuff. However, not all newspapers are well-edited, some journalism professors aren't doing their jobs, and today there are lots of people out in cyberspace who don't understand that there's a massive difference between posting opinions as a comment on an article and doing original reporting.

This is a complex and continually evolving area of law, but the short version of the difference is that truth is an absolute defense against libel based on the First Amendment. It makes no difference how hard you hammer someone, or what your motives are, provided that you can prove your facts are right. Also, for the last century since the “Cherry Sisters” vaudeville play review case, opinions which cannot be proved true or false are almost always okay no matter how severe the terms of criticism. (Of course, any facts stated in an opinion piece have to be true.)

In addition, for reporting as opposed to commentary, in the last few decades since New York Times v Sullivan there have been pretty substantial protections for people writing about public officials, public figures, and limited public figures. Those are categories of people who, unlike the average citizen, have effective means to fight back against media abuse, or in the case of elected officials, are people who should not be allowed to use the courts to harass those who are trying to hold them accountable for proper performance of their public duties. If the reporter makes an honest mistake covering an elected official or candidate at a political event, he'll probably be okay as long as the mistake is immediately corrected and the courts don't find that he acted with actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth.

Where things get really nasty is when people writing an article 1) make a false statement against someone who the courts decide is a private figure, or 2) fail to use basic standards of fact-checking to the point that they and the newspaper for which they wrote can be reasonably accused of “reckless disregard for the truth.” That last item is where the “citizen reporter” issues get **REALLY** nasty. Editors and journalism schools exist for good reasons, and teaching people how to spot errors and do fact-checking are among the most important of those reasons.

We all know that mainstream media sometimes make horrible mistakes, and due to huge cutbacks in the editorial staffs, those mistakes are becoming more common.

That's not the point. The point is that a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who screws up has a corporate lawyer backing him up because the newspaper knows it needs to be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to avoid losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a libel lawsuit. The result is libel lawsuits are rarely filed against major newspapers even when they make major mistakes, and when they are filed, they're usually settled out of court if the reporter obviously blew it.

Small print newspapers can't afford that and need to practice defensive journalism, and the same is true for almost all internet operations except the very largest.

The good thing is that new technology helps prove an honest reporter was telling the truth, so some cases which years ago would have gone to the jury now can be thrown out of court by a judge or never filed at all. It is much harder today than it once was for a wealthy and abusive person in a position of power to abuse a newspaper if the reporter's lawyer can play a tape back to the judge and ask that the case be dismissed since the person filing the lawsuit was obviously quoted correctly.

Two basic reporting tools that in the modern world are both simple and effective include carrying a recorder and digital camera to **ANY** meeting where you plan to report, being **ABSOLUTELY** sure to verify every quote you print with the tape, and having photographic documentation available when relevant. It should go without saying that keeping documents is critical. File folders and big file cabinets are your friend. Becoming a pack rat prevents becoming poorer than a church mouse after getting sued and not being able to prove what you wrote was true.

As I've told reporters working under me or with me for many years — think before you write, ask if you can defend yourself on the witness stand if challenged on what you've written, and make sure to document everything you'd want to know if you were a member of a jury trying your case.

Bottom line: if you don't think like a lawyer, sooner or later you're going to be hiring a lawyer to defend yourself.

148 posted on 05/08/2012 7:59:35 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
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To: darrellmaurina

Well, they’re not reporting as “reporters.” They’re posting their own opinions or interpretations. That’s why I labeled it “FReeper Editorial.” Was originally thinking of “FReeper OP-ED” but that didn’t really fit either as FR does not have its own editorial page or editorial staff. No news staff either. All such non-sourced posts are actually individual opinions or as one poster labeled his own post, an individual editorial, ie, FReeper Editorial.


149 posted on 05/08/2012 8:28:01 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: Admin Moderator

Excellent Idea!


150 posted on 05/08/2012 8:51:39 PM PDT by DBeers (†)
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