On February 25th I presented a case study over how the Tribune Company has struggled with issues of the First Amendment, censorship, and convergence. During my presentation I talked about how the Tribune Company has stepped up as leaders as technologies are changing and how they keep within the laws of what can or cannot be published. I searched through several articles for the information I gathered but the most of my information came from the Tribunes website, http://www.tribune.com/ and the textbook, Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Both sources provide much information in how technologies for the news industries are changing and how the First Amendment and laws about censorship apply to them.
I first gave a brief overview of the history and founding of the Tribune Company. I went over a few of the major events and changes that the company went through. Then I talked about the laws of censorship and the First Amendment, about how even though we have "freedom of press" that is is not an absolute guarantee in the United States. There are still rules we must abide by. I talked about how the Tribune Company more specifically takes what they do or do not publish into consideration and their "company values." Overall the Tribune Comanpy has made good decisions in what they put their name on and have done well in providing the people with information they need. I also went over the issues of convergence. Let's face it, not many young people are interested in reading the paper and since information is available for free online why would anyone pay to read it? The Tribune Company has always been leaders in convergence, they started early on by investing in printing technologies that would allow for them to have color pictures on their front cover and in the comic strips. They have also gone ahead with the trend of putting their information online like other companies have done. They still do however face money issues, they put more and more advertising in their papers to make money and have taken up other parts of the media world. They now own several radio and television stations, websites, and even the Chicago Cubs. To sum up my presentation I talked about the success of the Tribune Company. They own several well known papers such as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Newsday.
I proposed the discussion question, "do you believe that "the truth cannot be libel," as said in the Zenger trial? Or is any information that hurts someone libel, even if it is the truth?" to the class. One student brought up the recent Tiger Woods scandal, I thought this was the perfect example. His personal life of cheating and divorce is brought up to the public, even though it is true, what does this really have to do with his sports career? He is a professional golfer and that is all he should be known for in my opinion. His personal life really shouldn't be brought up, much less cost him his career. Just because he made some bad decissions it doesn't mean he is now a bad golfer. There is however another side to the debate, should we know if a political leader did such a thing or was maybe caught drinking and driving? Events like these show the morals of a person and we do need to know the morals of our leaders. It helps us to know what sort of decissions they would make for us. This question could easliy be debated either way.
To answer the quesion of the week, "What are the constraints on free speech and the First Amendmeny for the news industry?" I would say that although we have the freedom of press through the First Amendmeny, libel, defamation, and any invasion of personal privacy cannot be published.
I would encourage you to check out the Tribune Company's website, http://www.tribune.com/. I found it to be a very interesting and to really look at the company's values and how they respond to limits on censorship.