Mass Communication Law in West Virginia

Key Information

Mass Communication Law in West Virginia, 2nd Edition, By Nerissa Young

2012 [ISBN: 1-58107-232-5; 160 pages soft cover, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches] $24.95


MWVcovMASS COMMUNICATION LAW IN WEST VIRGINIA brings between two covers a valuable reference to state law affecting communication professionals and students. Written for the layperson, it examines issues that occur in daily news-gathering activities, such as libel, open records, and reporter privilege. Media law is constantly evolving, and West Virginia law is no exception. With Update supplements covering this dynamic field, Mass Communication Law in West Virginia will earn its place on every media professional’s desk.


Nerissa Young’s Mass Communications Law in West Virginia serves as an outstanding user’s guide for communications and media law in our state. With her “working journalist” approach to understanding West Virginia’s laws, Young goes far beyond citing the existing rules and regulations. Her book provides valuable examples of the law’s application. Her efforts to provide insight on numerous actual court rulings and opinions move this book to the same handy shelf as your dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebook. Perhaps the greatest compliment we can pay such a publication: Time spent reading this book could very well be time – and money – not spent in a courtroom.

If you want a better understanding of libel, among other topics, read Young’s book. The West Virginia Press Association suggests all journalists add Mass Communications Law in West Virginia to their required reading list.

Don Smith, Executive Director, West Virginia Press Association

The Contents

Foreword vii

Freedom of Speech and Press in West Virginia 1

West Virginia’s Open Meeting Act 7

West Virginia’s Open Records Act 29

Journalists Privilege in West Virginia 57

Libel in West Virginia 65

Invasion of Privacy in West Virginia 105

Free Press and Fair Trial in West Virginia 117

Juvenile Court Proceedings in West Virginia 127

Indecency, Pornography and Obscenity in West Virginia 131

Works Cited 143

Cases Cited 145

The Author

Nerissa Young is a writer and editor in Huntington, W.Va. She is a self-confessed law geek who actually spent part of a week’s vacation reading the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London (2005). During her time as a reporter, Young covered civil and criminal cases from the magistrate to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals levels. As president of the West Virginia Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, she spent three years on an ad hoc committee lobbying for revisions to the state open meeting law. As a campus newspaper adviser, Young lobbied at the last minute for campus journalists to be added to the state’s reporters shield bill.

Her teaching experience includes the journalism school at Oklahoma State University, the mass communications department at Shepherd University where she taught media law for three years and the journalism school at Marshall University. Her professional experience includes Girl Friday at WMTD Radio in Hinton, general assignment reporter and opinion writer at The Register-Herald in Beckley and news editor at The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Miss. Young has received reporting awards from the West Virginia Press Association for court coverage. She won a Golden Apple from the West Virginia Education Association for her coverage of the state’s school funding disparity and lawsuit.

She is a former chairwoman of the Project Watchdog Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, a former member of SPJ’s Ethics Committee and is a member of SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee. Young contributed case studies to and copy edited sections of the textbook “Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media, 4th Edition.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Concord College and a master’s degree in journalism from Marshall University. Young may be contacted via her Facebook page or at


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