A proposed Texas law rearranges the obligations of media and the opportunities for litigants in defamation cases. Nieman Journalism Lab reports on the proposed "retraction statute" that would oblige those who believe they have been defamed to contact publishers to give them an opportunity to retract, correct or clarify with the same prominence as the original publication. If they do so, a plaintiff can't be awarded punitive damages. If they do, they are entitled to a reasonable amount of information that can confirm the error. Out-of-court efforts would be made, too, to avoid expensive and protracted legislation. The bill would promote "truth in publication."
Gawker's Deadspin blog, known for its verve, has taken a detour in its approach and suddenly opened itself to a public "contributor network" with the same creative tools as its writing staff. It has PandoDaily pronouncing it as throwing in the towel and taking the route toward Huffington Post and Bleacher Report and away from its original path. PandoDaily's Bryan Goldberg says all media properties need to embrace the fact that more traffic is better than less, professional writers are not the only valid voices, and innovation is the only route out of the challenging economics.
Veteran news executive and advisor Gordon Crovitz weighs in on last week's spat between freelance journalist Nate Thayer, who worked for him in Cambodia, and The Atlantic Online. It will be recalled that The Atlantic wanted Thayer to rewrite his reporting fot them free. Crovitz, writing for the Wall Street Journal, laments this and notes that the tumult in journalism is driven by declines in advertising. Some journalism will be free, but the important journalism will require underwriting. "We need to find ways of paying for it," he concludes.