How to Avoid Being Sued: Defamation Law in the 21st Century


How to Avoid Being Sued: Defamation Law in the 21st Century

Journalists will learn how to protect themselves against legal issues that arise from publishing and producing content.

Broadcast date: Sept. 26, 2019 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

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Broadcast date: September 26, 2019 at 2 p.m. Eastern

Are you doing everything you can to avoid lawsuits and litigation? With stories being pushed out at lightning speed, journalists are more susceptible than ever to errors and inaccuracies — mistakes that can quickly balloon into legal battles. This webinar, hosted by the former vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times’ legal department, will help you navigate the tricky world of defamation and show how you can protect yourself and your organization from accusations of libel or slander.

You will learn how to:

  • Identify the three main causes of defamation lawsuits and how to avoid them. 
  • Describe what a plaintiff must prove in order to bring forth a defamation case
  • Protect yourself and your organization in a defamation case.
  • Evaluate the effects of corrections, retractions, denials, libelous implications and using anonymous and/or confidential sources.

Who should take this course:

Writers, publishers, editors and anyone else who works at a media outlet.


George Freeman

George Freeman is Executive Director of the Media Law Resource Center, a non-profit trade association supporting the media in legal matters.  Before that he was Counsel to the law firm of Jenner & Block.

For 31 years he was the chief First Amendment lawyer in the Legal Department of The New York Times, leaving as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel in 2012. At the Times, he was primarily responsible for newsroom counseling of The Times, the company’s many other newspapers and its television stations and magazines; he also was responsible for the newspaper’s and company’s litigations, and was at the forefront of numerous high-profile First Amendment cases, including Judy Miller’s resistance to a subpoena in the prosecution of Scooter Libby and the successful defense of The Times in a libel case brought by quarterback Ken Stabler. The Times newspaper didn’t lose or settle a libel case for dollars during his tenure.