Just a Thought – Case Dismissed

When the judge tossed a defamation case against Culver City Crossroads yesterday, it was the end of four plus years of legal issues that have been stressful, expensive, and time consuming to the point of being wearying.

While I make it a priority to be accurate, and I recognize no editor is infallible, this was a symptom of a common problem; many people feel if you don’t like what someone writes about you, you can just decide that they are lying. However, if you take them to court to prove they are lying, and in fact they are not, it’s a self-created problem.

Might work on FB, but actual journalism requires actual facts.

The person suing Culver City Crossroads for ‘defamation, slander and libel’ had already weakened their own case with a poor choice of language. Slander is a spoken statement, so published material is not slander.

Getting those kind of facts correct is important when you are presenting it to a judge.

As a journalist, getting the facts correct is the job. It will never matter how lovely the language is, how intriguing the introduction, or what prosody might sing to your inner ear. Facts are required, and they need to be verified, and supported, by as many sources as possible.

I had spent so much time preparing for the court date, I had more than 75 pieces of evidence supporting my article, and in the end, the judge only needed one. One sheet of paper. I feel like I rehearsed for an opera and I got to sing a jingle.

Not only was the case dismissed, but the judge ‘dismissed with prejudice.’  In a legal language, that refers to a decision being “final and prohibited from being asserted in another court at any time in the future.”

I am glad to have the whole adventure over with, and pleased that once again ethical standards have proved to be valuable. Honesty is, in fact, a virtue, and in journalism, it’s a vital necessity.

Culver City Crossroads is proud to be the purveyor of actual facts.

Thank you for your readership, and your support.

Judith Martin-Straw

 

 

www.culvercitysymphony.org

1 Comment

  1. Dear Editor Judith, I was thrilled to hear about this albatross being lifted from your neck yesterday when I encountered my favorite of your oldest daughters 🙂 at her job. Just want to say that my husband, daughter and I appreciate your dedication to publishing the facts about life in our community 52 weeks a year. Is Culver City too small or too insignificant for journalism with integrity? No, it is not! It reminded me that you support Culver City, and so Culver City has to support Crossroads. So look for a notification of my “subscription renewal” coming to your inbox.

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