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Learning Goals
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After reading Chapter 7, you should know and understand:

  • the privileges, protections and access guaranteed to journalists;
  • how to avoid being jailed, sued, fired or verbally harassed if your writing or reporting crosses the line;
  • the ins and outs of libel and slander, so you can avoid making careless errors that could lead to defamation lawsuits;
  • the legal problems that can arise from violating a person's right to privacy;
  • how copyright law protects you, and how it prevents you from illegally reprinting the works of others;
  • where editors, administrators and readers draw the line when material becomes offensive;
  • the ethical pitfalls that can lead to trouble or termination: deception, plagiarism, fabrication, theft, bias, burning sources, and conflict of interest; and
  • the ethical standards for reporters' behavior.

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