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Newsroom Alert


Doug Pierce

Newsroom Alert provides you with the latest updates in First Amendment and other legal issues related to news gathering and reporting, including reviews of recent state and federal court decisions.  Some of the many topics include libel, copyright, privacy, and access to records and meetings.

Doug Pierce is a Partner at King & Ballow. He also serves as General Counsel for the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and President of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.  He is a frequent writer on legal issues related to newsroom topics; he co-authors portions of the Media Law Resource Center’s annual 50 state surveys for Libel and Privacy.

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Seventy-year old grand jury materials are to be released

Monday, 17 August 2015 07:47


August of 1942 marks the first and only time in the history of the United States in which the federal government attempted to prosecute a major newspaper for allegedly violating the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of classified information which was limited or restricted by the government for national security reasons. In 1942, the Tribune published a story “Navy Had Word Of Jap Plan to Strike At Sea,” which suggested that the Navy had detailed information regarding Japan’s plan to attack prior to the actual attack.


Bill Cosby’s prior deposition testimony must be unsealed

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 12:53


A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania has determined sealed deposition excerpts in a ten-year-old lawsuit against Bill Cosby must be unsealed and released to the public.


Actual malice standard protects statements about public officials

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 10:08


In 2012, a firearms analyst sued a newspaper, its editor, and several other employees.  The suit arose out of a newspaper article regarding analyst’s testimony in two trials.  The article, titled "SBI relies on bullet analysis that critics deride as unreliable," was part of a four-part series on failings in investigations.


Reporter ordered to testify in police shooting case

Tuesday, 07 July 2015 09:14


A U.S. District Court in Florida has determined a news reporter may be required to testify in a lawsuit where a party overcomes the journalists’ privilege by demonstrating a compelling need for the reporter’s testimony.


Defamation thwarted by Innocent Construction Rule

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 08:56


An orthopedic surgeon took what was supposed to be an unpaid leave of absence from the Illinois hospital where he was employed.  However, due to a clerical error, the surgeon continued to receive his salary via direct deposits.


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