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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia J Simmons
COM 440
Seattle Campus

Mass Media Law

Survey of laws and regulations that affect the print and broadcast media. Includes material on First Amendment, libel, invasion of privacy, freedom of information, copyright, obscenity, advertising and broadcast regulation, and matters relating to press coverage of the judicial system. Offered: jointly with POL S 461.

Class description

This course covers the law with which professional journalists need to be familiar. Content includes the First Amendment, libel law, access to public meetings and documents and broadcast regulation.

Student learning goals

Legal Reasoning

Understand the freedoms protected by the First Amendment

Know how to minimize the chances of being sued for libel when working as a journalist

Understand the legal protections of journalists

Know areas in which journalists may get into trouble with the law

Appreciate the role of a free press in our democratic system of government

General method of instruction

Lecture, Socratic method, discussion and moot court.

Recommended preparation

Be sure to have plenty of time available outside of class to complete required reading.

Class assignments and grading

This is a heavy reading course using Pember's excellent text Mass Media Law, some U.S. Supreme Court opinions and two mass market books.

Primarily exams and participation


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cynthia J Simmons
Date: 03/13/2009