Newsgathering Law & Liability: A Guide for Reporting

Course Overview

Newsgathering Law & Liability: A Guide for Reporting
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is **FREE** thanks to generous grants from the Harnisch Foundation and The Cutts Foundation.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

While you're newsgathering, many situations you'll encounter will have an element of legal risk. Learn to protect yourself from liability.

In this course, you'll learn to identify the level of permission you must get to gather news in a location. You'll practice interviewing sources and see what promises you should or shouldn't make to them. You'll find out how to handle documents and other materials, and understand what your rights are to protect and retain them.

What Will I Learn:

After completing this course, you'll be able to:

  • Identify when consent is necessary to gather news
  • Understand what level of permission you need to gather news in public and private places
  • Understand your rights of access to public documents and your rights to retain and protect newsgathering materials
  • Explain the implications of agreements with sources
Who should take this course:

Reporters, citizen journalists and anyone who wants to know more about the laws that relate to gathering content, interviewing sources and handling documents.

Course Instructors:

David Ardia

David Ardia is a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the director of the Citizen Media Law Project , which provides legal assistance, training, and resources for individuals and organizations involved in online and citizen media.

Geanne Belton

Geanne Belton is a professor of journalism at City University of New York's Baruch College and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a faculty associate at The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Geanne directs the Harnisch Journalism Projects, specializes in online education, and teaches news and digital literacy, journalism, and media law and ethics. An attorney and journalist (previously writing under the byline Geanne Rosenberg), Geanne is a graduate of Columbia University's Schools of Journalism and Law (where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), and Bryn Mawr College.


The Cutts Foundation

The Cutts Foundation is a non-profit that funds grants in areas such as electronic rights, better journalism, and international women's education.

Harnisch Foundation

Since 1998, The Harnisch Foundation has been a catalyst for sustainable social change, funding and implementing innovation in the fields of philanthropy, coaching and journalism. It believes that philanthropy, coaching and journalism are ways of making a powerful difference in the world through the lives of individuals.Its team, including board, staff, volunteers, and partners, are committed to transparency in all our operations. Its work is dedicated to unleashing untapped capacity.