Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ugland, Erik F.

Second Advisor

Garner, Ana C.

Third Advisor

Wagner, A.Jay


This study aimed to understand the U.S. courts reasoning for either accepting or rejecting the neutral reportage privilege, a libel defense that protects individuals who republish defamatory statements for a newsworthy purpose. A systematic analysis of federal and state court cases regarding the privilege was performed to determine how the courts view neutral reportage and what their rationales were for their decisions. The analysis showed the courts' unnecessary reliance on Supreme Court precedent and an inconsistent application of the privilege. This paper offers a proposal for how the courts, journalists, other citizens, and social media platforms should view and utilize the neutral reportage privilege without rewarding the circulation of disinformation.

Included in

Communication Commons