Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Online Course Offers Guide to Online Media Law for Bloggers and Others

The Poynter Institute's News University is launching a new e-learning course on media law designed specifically for individuals and journalists engaged in online publishing. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers addresses defamation, privacy and copyright - three important areas of media law that affect bloggers and others who are reporting on events in their communities and helping to hold those in power accountable (

"Many people are using online publishing as a way to participate in the democratic process by reporting on local, regional and national events. This course allows NewsU to broaden its reach and bring educational opportunities to those who may not have a journalism background, as well as to experienced journalists who are launching their own blogs," said Howard Finberg, director of interactive learning at The Poynter Institute. NewsU is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Poynter.

Online Media Law, which is being offered free to registered users of NewsU, was co-authored by David Ardia, Director of the Citizen Media Law Project, and Geanne Rosenberg, Chair of the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at City University of New York's Baruch College and author of the Top Ten Rules to Limit Legal Risk .

The course was developed in partnership with the Media Bloggers Association with contributions from the Citizen Media Law Project, which is jointly affiliated with Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Center for Citizen Media; City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism and Baruch College; and Media/Professional Insurance.

The course, which includes games and learning exercises, is designed to help participants understand their legal rights and responsibilities associated with their online publishing activities so they can protect themselves against lawsuits. The online course also provides resources to help bloggers and others improve the accuracy and quality of their reporting.