I’m sure you’ve all see the headlines about the Covington Catholic High School students who were allegedly accosted by a group (on video), and how the media then twisted the entire story, making the kids seem like the perpetrators. More media outlets jumped into the melee, and spread the false narrative.
The Washington Post was one of them and it has now been sued by one of the students. And, in my opinion, for good reason.
The news you see online usually isn’t original. It was often either taken from a large news service, like The Associated Press or Reuters, or it was rewritten by someone who read about an incident. Sure, there are original stories but those, too, are ripe for the picking by what I called News Re-writers.
It seems rare these days to read the words of a journalist who was actually there, at the scene, and who is reporting something that they themselves witnessed.
Some bloggers are News Re-writers and they, too, can be held liable if they distribute incorrect information (libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy). Just because someone else touts specific information as fact does not mean that using their information on your own website, or in your own publication, is going to prevent you from being sued.
This is why fact-checking, and having an unbiased opinion when reporting the news, is so vitally important. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Just one libel lawsuit could bankrupt you in legal fees, even if you win in the end. And, if you rewrote incorrect news, chances are you won’t win that lawsuit.
If you did publish incorrect information, and are hit with a cease and desist request, it would behoove you to remove the story until you can research it further. Do NOT get a big head and try to challenge the accuser if you, yourself, were not there to witness the events you wrote about. If you don’t remove incorrect information from your publication or blog, fail to issue an apology or correction, or, even worse, learn what you published is untrue, but keep it up anyway because of your biased opinions, the damages later can be even greater because you will be accused of malice.
And, remember, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t unintentionally smear someone, and then continue smearing them just because you can’t admit you were wrong. Do the right thing. If you do anything other than ethical reporting, you’re not a journalist. You’re just a jerk.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NEW RE-WRITING USING THE COMMENTS BOX BELOW! 🙂
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Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
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