A clearly written but rigorously sophisticated elucidation . . . on truth, objectivity, First Amendment theory, and the history of narrative journalism and modern libel law, this book offers a stimulating account that will challenge scholars in the field to push beyond their conventional intellectual boundaries. Communications Booknotes Quarterly
Kathy Roberts Forde has chosen a fascinating case, Masson v. New Yorker, through which to analyze the history and theory of libel law in the United States, and she has identified and convincingly articulated the critical epistemological issues inhering in legal treatments of journalistic speech in that area. The writing is lively and engaging, and the legal analysis impressive in its mastery and logic.
(Martha Merrill Umphrey, coeditor of The Place of Law)
Literary Journalism on Trial makes an important contribution to our understanding of First Amendment law, an understanding reflecting the historical tension between objective and literary journalism that plays out in the court room.... The chapter dealing with the history of libel claims and lawsuits against the New Yorker alone is an original contribution. But in addition, Kathy Roberts Forde delivers on her promise to provide the cultural history that laid the groundwork for the confrontation between Jeffrey Masson and Janet Malcolm.
(John Hartsock, author of A History of American Literary Journalism)
Forde has written a deft "microhistory" of a landmark First Amendment case that occurred within the larger context of competing journalistic models.... Forde's book will appeal equally to scholars in law and communications. Highly recommended.
Kathy Roberts Forde, a professor at the University of Minnesota, leads the way with surprising clarity through the tortuous proceedings. She also describes significant dramas playing out behind Masson.... Forde's discussion of these matters is consistently engaging.
(Columbia Journalism Review
The book provides a feast of behind-the scenes minutiae, meticulously tracking in particular the labyrinthe legal developments set in train when Masson filed his libel suit, triggering a dispute that would occupy the federal court system for 12 years. Forde argues persuasively that besides fueling the ethics debate, the case led to interpretations of libel law that would have significant implications for the defense of robust democratic debate.
(Australian Journalism Review
A clearly written but rigorously sophisticated elucidation... on truth, objectivity, First Amendment theory, and the history of narrative journalism and modern libel law, this book offers a stimulating account that will challenge scholars in the field to push beyond their conventional intellectual boundaries.
(Communications Booknotes Quarterly
About the Author
Kathy Roberts Forde is assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.