Fall issue of RCFP’s The News Media and The Law explores newsworthiness in privacy cases, federal legislation benefitting the press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) recently released its latest edition of The News Media and The Law, the quarterly publication providing legal news and guidance for members of the news media.

In this Fall 2015 edition, the RCFP attorneys tackled numerous issues facing the press, including access to public records, classified records, disclosure of juror names, and drones, among others.

The magazine featured my first two articles published since joining RCFP in September.

One of my articles, promoted on the cover as Privacy vs. News: How do courts decide?, uses the upcoming privacy trial involving the publication of former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s sex tape to explore how courts determine what is considered newsworthy.

If a court determines information is newsworthy – or of a “legitimate public concern” – a privacy claim of publication of private facts will be barred. Thus, defining newsworthiness is critical to the result in privacy cases. But what does a court consider when assessing newsworthiness? This question and more is answered in the article, Courts wrestle with defining newsworthiness in privacy cases.

My second article focused on two recent bills before Congress that would benefit journalists and enhance free speech. In the article Camera access, anti-SLAPP laws introduced in Congress, I expanded upon Congressional efforts to permit cameras and other forms of recording into the U.S. Supreme Court with the Eyes on the Court Act.

I then discussed the advantages of the most recent federal anti-SLAPP bill, the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015. This latest attempt to provide the uniform ability to defend against frivolous claims sought to suppress speech has gained support from both sides of the aisle as well as from technology companies and legal scholars.

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