It is difficult to determine if a new perspective on how Twitter intersects with defamation falls from the jury verdict Friday to acquit rock star Courtney Love. Jurors determined that a Tweet from Love about her lawyer did contain false information, but that she didn't know it, so she could not be held liable. Love's attorneys expressed appreciation for the verdict (notably, she didn't Tweet about it) and the plaintive expressed appreciation that it was publicly known the information was false. What will be more interesting will be cases involving those who know they are making false statements.
Robert Lipsyte, the ombudsman for ESPN, has weighed in on the case involving Grantland.com and its posthumous feature of a golf-club inventor. The story reveals that the inventor overstated her credentials and that she was born a man. It is the latter information that has so upset the audience and those who work in the journalism ethics field. Lipsyte calls the piece unnecessary and inexcusable, is critical of how many saw it without stopping it, and concludes hopefully that Grantland won't make the same mistakes again.
(My beta site, presswatching.com, has my take on the story.)
In their effort to find their place in the new media ecology, some newspapers have taken increasingly to carrying more interpretive pieces prominently. Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, questions this strategy in her latest post. She notes that emphasis on interpretation on the Times' front page at times and wonders if a more straightforward revelation of events is called for. Not every reader is prepared for that second-day strategy of analysis, she notes.