CARMICHAEL – A new pocket guide to the law affecting news gathering and reporting in California, due to ship in mid-September, covers everything from rights of access to people, places, events and documents to coping with challenges like gag orders, subpoenas, searches and liability lawsuits, and includes a special chapter on student journalism.

The CalAware Guide to Journalism Law in California is published by Californians Aware (CalAware), a nonprofit organization uniting public officials, private citizens and journalists in promoting open government and First Amendment rights.  The book is the group’s second publication, complementing The CalAware Guide to Open Meetings in California, its comprehensive guide to the Brown Act.

Both are written by Terry Francke, CalAware’s general counsel and a 2006 recipient of the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award, sponsored by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and to be presented at the annual conference of the Society of Professional Journalists in Chicago on August 26. Francke is the author of previous media law guides over the past 26 years for the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the California First Amendment Coalition.

Issues addressed in the guide include access to public meetings and records; access to court proceedings and judicial records at both the local and federal levels; cameras and recording equipment in the courtroom; getting information on hospital patients under HIPAA; avoiding liability for trespass, intrusion, secret eavesdropping and recording, violations of California’s unique paparazzi laws, libel, slander and invasion of privacy; and protection from subpoenas and pretrial discovery under California and federal law.

A chapter on the rights of high school and college journalists covers freedom from prior restraint and post-publication discipline as well as access to crime records at colleges and universities.

The guide uses a question and answer format plus “News Notes” sidebars on obstacles or opportunities posed by the law.

For more information, visit our publications store.