Actual Malice: Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan (Zoom Program)
Monday, December 4, 2023 | 4:00pm - 5:30pm EST
A Discussion for Judges with Professor Samantha Barbas
*This is a Zoom program*
From the Publisher: A deeply researched legal drama that documents this landmark First Amendment ruling—one that is more critical and controversial than ever.
Actual Malice tells the full story of New York Times v. Sullivan, the dramatic case that grew out of segregationists’ attempts to quash reporting on the civil rights movement. In its landmark 1964 decision, the Supreme Court held that a public official must prove “actual malice” or reckless disregard of the truth to win a libel lawsuit, providing critical protections for free speech and freedom of the press.
Drawing on previously unexplored sources, including the archives of the New York Times Company and civil rights leaders, Samantha Barbas tracks the saga behind one of the most important First Amendment rulings in history. She situates the case within the turbulent 1960s and the history of the press, alongside striking portraits of the lawyers, officials, judges, activists, editors, and journalists who brought and defended the case. As the Sullivan doctrine faces growing controversy, Actual Malice reminds us of the stakes of the case that shaped American reporting and public discourse as we know it.
Samantha Barbas is a legal and cultural historian and the author of several books on media history and legal history topics, with a focus on journalism, privacy, defamation, and the First Amendment.
She is a Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo and has a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award.
Advance registration is required for this educational program. A complimentary copy of Actual Malice: Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan will be distributed in advance to the first 50 judges who register.