This largely forgotten era in the development of American libel law provides crucial historical context for contemporary debates about the news media, public discourse, and the role of a free press. File argues that the legal thinking surrounding these cases laid the groundwork for the more friendly libel standards the press now enjoys and helped to establish today’s regulations of press freedom amid the promise and peril of high-speed communication technology.
"File’s research is impressive, and Bad News Travels Fast makes an important contribution to understanding this ‘forgotten period’ of libel law."—Samantha Barbas, author of Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle over Privacy and Press Freedom
"An important contribution to our understanding of the development of First Amendment law, with particular relevance to current debates about the role of journalism and legal protections for the press."—Tim Gleason, professor of journalism and director of the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism at the University of Oregon
"File reveals an evolution of legal protections for newspapers in the face of developing technology that fills gaps in our understanding of the role of a free press in a democracy through time and provides us a framework to address similar problems arising from our ever-increasing technological wonderland of instantaneous communication."—American Journalism
"Bad News Travels Fast is an invaluable read for those interested in understanding how the press and legal actors at the turn of the last century grappled with some of the legal issues inherent in 'fake news.' In the face of rapid technological change, we can draw on the lessons of the past to ensure that the law yet again responds to changing technology and shifting public expectations for news reporting."—Law Library Journal
"Bad News Travels Fast is a clear, concise, and informative account of libel pitfalls and efforts for reforms . . . File’s lucid analysis of libel troubles and developments helps explain why courts are not now swamped with defamation suits."—Journal of American History