Quote Approval as an Attempt at Media Control

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Would you rather have something scripted or nothing at all? It's not a new question in the media industry. Sources regularly ask to preapprove questions, conduct interviews via email, review quotes, or read stories before they are published. All of these requests are forms of prior review, meaning the individual wants to read or filter the information received through the media. Prior review is a form of censorship that almost always leads to prior restraint, an exertion of power to stop … [Read more...]

What I Learned from Sandra Day O’Connor

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There are days when I thank God that I'm part of the academy. Yesterday was one of those as I had the honor of hearing Sandra Day O'Connor speak on campus. I was especially interested, as a media law professor, in hearing the retired Supreme Court justice speak. O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, spoke primarily about her desire for greater civics education in our nation's schools. When she retired after 24 years with the Court, O'Connor began championing efforts to improve … [Read more...]

Students, Win Cash for Writing about Free Information

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Freedom of Information Oklahoma, a state organization supporting government openness, is hosting its second annual Freedom of Information essay contest for Oklahoma college students. Students can win cash prizes for writing an about 500-word essay answering one of several questions. The questions are: How have you used Oklahoma’s Open Meeting and Open Records laws to encourage and facilitate an informed citizenry’s participation in government? How do violations of Oklahoma’s Open … [Read more...]

Streak of Adviser Terminations Continues

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It's happened again. You may remember that I wrote back in August about a series of collegiate media adviser terminations. The unfortunate trend continues. Another adviser became victim last week of what appears to be censorship by termination. East Carolina University officials fired Paul Isom on Jan. 4. Isom's termination comes two months after The East Carolinian ran a series of photos on Page 1 of a streaker at a football game. The photos, published Nov. 8, garnered local and … [Read more...]

The (un)Ethical Media

When one media outlet is unethical, it reflects poorly on them all. This was the primary take-away from the first session I attended at the Media Ethics 2011 conference at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. The following are my additional take-aways from the session, Rupert Murdoch and the British Phone Hacking scandal. The speakers were: Jacqui Banaszynski from the Missouri School of Journalism,  Dave Espo from the Associated Press, Joe Hight from The Oklahoman, and Margaret … [Read more...]

The Ink Debate: Who Owns Your Tattoo?

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Can you copyright ink on flesh? Apparently the jury is still out on the issue. A Missouri tattoo artist who claimed Warner Brothers illegally reproduced a copyrighted tattoo settled his lawsuit earlier this month, according to a Wired magazine story. The settlement amount is confidential. The artist claimed that the face tattoo featured in The Hangover: Part II movie was a reproduction of the one he gave boxing champion Mike Tyson in 2003. Duh, right? Stu Price gets the tattoo in the … [Read more...]

United Nations: Internet access is a human right

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You have the right to life, liberty and security. You have the right to freedom from slavery and torture. You have the right to nationality. You have the right to Facebook? Internet access is a human right, according to a United Nations report released last week. You can view a list of the other rights in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Internet has become an “indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating … [Read more...]

First Amendment flames protest

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More than 1,000 students gathered May 11 to protest a peer's burning of an American flag. The flag was spared because the Louisiana State University graduate student who planned to burn it didn't have a burn permit, according to Inside Higher Ed. The crowd of protesters became so excited that police had to escort the student out before he could read a planned statement, according a story in The Baton Rouge Advocate. Protesting certainly is a democratic right, but so is burning the … [Read more...]

Pink means gay?

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Painting a boy's toenails pink encourages homosexuality, according to critics of a recent J. Crew ad. The ad shows Jenna Lyons, the company's president and creative director, with her 5-year-old son. Lyons is spending "quality time" with her son, apparently just having painted his toenails pink. Lyons's quote reads: “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink.” Read the Chicago Tribune's story here. Conservatives labeled the ad propaganda. Liberals criticized the … [Read more...]

Censorship reinforced

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It's a terrible example of social censorship. There are multiple stories (read here for an example, and another one, and another one) every semester about students stealing copies of university newspapers to keep information with which they do not agree from being distributed. Many students don't understand that newspaper theft is a crime. Student newspapers aren't cheap to produce. For example, the student newspaper I advise costs about $400 an issue just to print. This does not include … [Read more...]