Miami real estate agent Lucas Lechuga began blogging to share his knowledge of the local market. He didn’t bargain for a $25 million defamation lawsuit when he wrote that a Miami developer had gone bankrupt decades ago.
In Lake Geneva, Wis., commodities trader Gary Millitte registered the Internet domain name LakeGenevaNews.com eight years ago, but is so worried about the legal boundaries of writing online that he still hasn’t started the ultra-local news site.
Non-journalists entering the world of blogs, online feedback forums, online videos and news websites provide information that newspapers and other media can’t or don’t. But many are now turning to professional journalists for help with dilemmas they’re facing: When is something libellous? What’s the difference between opinion and news? And how do you find public documents?
About a dozen would-be reporters navigated the basics of journalism at a recent training offered by the Society of Professional Journalists in Chicago. The group plans similar seminars this month in Greensboro, N.C., and Los Angeles.
This is an interesting evolution in the world of citizen journalism. We are considering offering an insurance solution to our members (or a sub set of them) and I’d love to hear what you all thought of this. Would this be useful to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments here or by sending me a note. Thanks, M.
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