Dr. Larry Burriss



Mon March 5, 2012
Two Landmark Free Speech Cases

Burriss on Media: Sullivan & Murrow

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  This Friday, March 9th, marks an unusual coincidence in anniversaries and significant dates in the media. In 1954 on this date, C-B-S news reporter Edward R. Murrow aired his famous Joseph McCarthy broadcast. And 10 years later, in 1964, also on March 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of government officials to sue newspapers for defamatory statements made in the heat of public debate.

The March 9th broadcast of "See It Now" has been directly linked to the downfall of McCarthy, and the beginning of the end of McCarthyism.

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Fri February 24, 2012
Lenoir City Aetheist Student Controversy

Burriss on Media: High School Newspapers

Dr. Larry Burriss

Life used to be so much easier when high school students just went to class and didn’t try to act like…well, adults. Oh, wait a minute, we do want the kids to act like adults. At least some of the time.

And what about the kids? Well, they want to be treated like adults. Except when they don’t.

It seems the student editor of the Lenoir City High School paper wanted to publish an editorial describing how atheists in the school are allegedly discriminated against. The school principal decided the editorial would be disruptive, and wouldn’t allow it to be published.

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Mon February 6, 2012
A World Where Reporters Can Do Anything

Burriss on Media: Journalists & News Corp.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) --  For as long as I can remember I’ve had an idea for a science fiction story about journalists. In the story we live in a world where journalists can do anything they want in pursuit of a story: lie, cheat steal, even murder. Of course, all of their stories are truthful, complete and accurate, so I guess there is some kind of trade-off.

Now, I find my fantasy story may not be as far-fetched as I had perhaps imagined.

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Mon January 30, 2012
Will Grandma Read Your Post?

Burriss on Media: Facebook Timeline

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) --  There’s an old, old saying that you can run but you can’t hide. And a corollary for the Internet age is that you shouldn’t post anything anywhere that you wouldn’t want you grandmother to see.

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Mon January 23, 2012
Should a Reporter Challenge Sources?

Journalists & Truth

Dr. Larry Burriss

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. --  Remember when Sergeant Joe Friday used to say “Just the facts”?  And remember when the heart of journalism was gathering facts and then writing a story based on those facts?  But what is supposed to happen if the reporters working on a story know the facts they are being given are wrong?  Should they challenge the source?

    That was the question a New York Times editor posed recently, asking if reporters should openly challenge public officials’ misleading claims.  The public seems split on the answer, but the quick answer is:  no.

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