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UF / Journalism Core / JOU 4200 / What is the importance of media law?

What is the importance of media law?

What is the importance of media law?


School: University of Florida
Department: Journalism Core
Course: Law of Mass Communications
Professor: Sandra chance
Term: Winter 2016
Tags: media law, Law, mass communication, law of mass communication, first amendment, court systems, and SCOTUS
Cost: Free
Name: MMC 4200, Week 1 Notes
Description: Introduction to the course and Chapter 1. The court system, the Supreme Court of the United States, and introduction to First Amendment issues.
Uploaded: 01/13/2016
6 Pages 10 Views 5 Unlocks

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First Class — 1/5/16

What is the importance of media law?

-Prof. Chance  

-Email: schance@jou.ufl.edu

-Been teaching at UF for 24 years

-Taught law for many years before that  

Administrative: for this first lecture, all of the things that she talked about that weren’t included on the  slides I italicized so that it was more clear what was official and what isn’t.  

Course Overview

• No kind of curve (at all)

• One of the most difficult courses in the college (always)

• Going to be learning what we can do legally as a professional communicator • Not trying to make us into lawyers; just trying to inform us and maybe spark interest • Focus—First Amendment and state and federal laws that affect mass communication • Study the law, analyze legal cases and problems, and gain practical knowledge to use in the REAL  WORLD.

Which laws in florida are considered silly?


• Course Objectives

• Text

• E-Learning: will be in SAKAI

• Acing this class

• Attendance Don't forget about the age old question of What was themistocles famous for?

o Not mandatory or a requirement (other than attending exams)

o Good idea to come, but not part of your grade

• Extra Credit

Course Objectives

• By the end of the semester, you'll have:  

o A basic understanding of the American legal system, its institutions and some of its  terminology

o A broad understanding of the First Amendment principles as they relate to mass  communication

What does the law of equity state?

If you want to learn more check out How are hormones used in insect metamorphosis?

o A working knowledge of the laws that directly enhance or restrict information gathering and  message dissemination in the mass media, and an understanding of the reasons and  rationales behind these laws; and Don't forget about the age old question of What is the definition of key information?

o An appreciation for the importance of understanding these legal issues to professional  communicators who wish to minimize their legal exposure. Don't forget about the age old question of Where is each macromolecule broken down?

Grading Policy

• She showed us the grading policy chart that is in the syllabus and talked extremely briefly about  each section


• 3 exams total  

• All multiple choice and true/false

• Optional final exam at the end of the semester  

o You can take the exam and then drop your lowest exam grade from the semester o The optional final is cumulative  Don't forget about the age old question of When did charles vi pass away?

Outside Assignments

• Will be an opportunity for an outside written assignment

Teaching Assistant

• Linda Riedemann  

• Email address: l.riedemann@ufl.edu


• Buy it now!  

• Ninth edition is the one we will use

• Ebook is also available

• Should be able to buy it used; the UF library has it

• We have reading to complete for Thursday (Chapter 1)

• You won't be able to pass the class without the book

Class Website


• Questions: email TA or visit office hours in 3028 Weimer

Tips for Acing the Class

• Be open to enjoying this course and the material we will discuss.

• Come to class. Don't forget about the age old question of How multicellularity evolved?

• Read the assigned text in advance (highly recommended)

• Organize a study group (everyone in the class knows someone else—she asked us) • Attend review sessions (afternoon or evening 1-2 days before the exam)

• Use exam reviews as guides (helps us go through the material and gives a guide of things to know) • Don't get behind and don't give up (don't get behind in the reading, and if you don't do well on the  first exam you can always drop it; also don't try to do all the reading the night before the exam)

Most Important Things to Know

• 2015 Spring class average — 2.9 without extra credit or the optional final

o With the extra credit it was between a B and a B

o With the optional final it was between a B and a B+

• Extra credit

o Will always be awarded in class

• Sometimes just for coming to class

• Other times for participating

• Cannot be made up if you weren’t there

o Out of class (extremely rare)

Why Study Media Law?

• Graduation

• So that you will be able to get through your first job without getting fired for getting the company  into legal trouble

• Daily Survival: you will have to deal with legal issues in your life

• Guardians of Free Speech  

• Fascinating

• Cultivate Critical Thinking Skills

Reading for this Week

• Textbook: The Law of Public Communication, 9th edition by Middleton and Lee • Read: Chapter 1

• Also read: Appendix A and Appendix B

Extra Credit Quiz

• Print your name and UFID on the scantron

• Scantron quiz, a few questions

Chapter 1 — 1/7/16


• Textbooks are backordered and now the bookstore has the new book instead of the old one she  wanted us to have

• If you have the 2016 update, that's fine

• If not, then she will let us know everything that is updated from the last version • Executive decision made to eliminate minus grades for this semester because of the issues with  the book

For next Tuesday:  

o Finish Chapter 1

o Term review will be posted, complete it and bring it to Tuesday's class

o Chapter 1 has a lot of the legal terms that we will need to learn, she wants us to go through  and work through the review and we will go over it on Tuesday

Important things to know about the law:  

1. Laws change; sometimes they change overnight

o They can change very quickly

o Example is gay marriage; SCOTUS struck down the Defense of Marriage Act 2. Situations change

o Sometimes slightly different scenarios mean drastically different legal results 3. A lot of laws can be different from state to state

o The constitution is an example of something that does not vary

Stupid Laws in Florida

• Women and hairdressers can be fined for a woman falling asleep under a hair dryer • Single women can't parachute on Sunday

• Elephants have to pay parking meter fees

• It's illegal to sing in public while wearing swimsuits

• Men cannot wear strapless gowns in public

• It's an offense to shower naked

• Unmarried couples cannot commit "lewd acts" and live together in the same residence • Chickens are a protected species in Key West

• In one city, ambling and strolling are misdemeanors

• You can't break more than 3 dishes per day or chip the edges of more than 4 cups/saucers • You can't fart in a public place after 6pm on Thursdays

Sources of Law

• Six different ways to get laws or their equivalent in the US:  

o US Constitution and State Constitutions

• Supreme law of the land

• Outline the structure of government, both at the federal and state level

• Defines government's responsibilities and authority

• The bill of rights was actually written to define the government's role and the rights  citizens have against government control

• Also limits the power of government

o Statutes

• Actual laws that governments pass

• We have state statutes and federal statutes

o Administrative Agencies

• Empowered to passing rules and regulations that are the equivalents of laws o Executive branch

• Includes the President/Governors of states

• Pass executive orders and proclamations

• Sign treaties on behalf of the US

• President has the power to issue executive orders

o Common Law

• Opinions that judges issue about what a law means

• Helps to shape what a law means

• Judicial opinions shape common law

o Law of Equity

• Historically it was significant, but isn't relevant anymore

• Before the law of equity, courts could only solve legal issues that had to do with money ▪ Things that don't involve money includes divorce, custody issues, etc.

• There used to be a court of law and then a court of equity

• Now they are combined to being under one roof

Court Systems

• There are two court systems:  

o Federal (Mostly deal with federal issues)

o State

• In both systems, there are:  

o Trial courts

• The finder of fact (judge/jury depending on what the issues are) examines all the  evidence and makes a decision that decides the outcome

• All cases start here

• Lawyers present evidence, witnesses are examined, exhibits are presented

• The only place where juries exist

o Appellate courts

• If you disagree with the trial court, you can appeal to the appellate court

• Outcomes:

▪ Uphold the trial court's decision

▪ Reverse the trial court's decision

▪ Remand the trial court (sending it back to them and instructing them to do  something else)

• They can be told to review the case with a different interpretation of the  


• To include a law that they didn't consider before

• To not consider parts of evidence

• To include parts of evidence

o Supreme courts

• You can sometimes re-appeal to a supreme court, but they are extremely selective as to  which cases they see

The 9 Supreme Court Justices (SCOTUS)

o John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States

o Antonin Scalia

o Anthony M. Kennedy

o Clarence Thomas

o Ruth Bader Ginsburg

o Stephen G. Breyer

o Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.

o Sonia Sotomayor

o Elena Kagan

• They always line up in the same way for their portrait, in order of seniority: o Oldest sitting down

o Newer standing

o Chief in the middle

• They decide issues that affect us in our daily lives; this makes them extremely important • The President nominates them, then the Senate has to confirm them as Justice • SCOTUS is a great example of why it's important to keep in the loop with politics • Once they are appointed, they are on the court for life

• They only choose between 100-200 cases per year

• They get roughly 8,000-9,000 petitions each year from lawyers who want them to hear their case o C-SPAN video:  

• The Supreme Court: Home to America's Highest Court

▪ There have been just over 100 Supreme Court Justices in all of American history ▪ Average term served is 16 years, but many have served longer than that

▪ After the Civil War, the Constitution was amended to ban slavery, …….  

▪ The 14th Amendment ^ was that amendment

▪ They receive more than 100 more cases per week

• SCOTUS Video Part 1


Will finish Chapter 1 on Tuesday

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