By 'legally safe', I mean free from any material that could be libelous and/or defamatory. A defamatory statement is defined in McNae's Essential Law for Journalists as material that:
- Exposes the person to hatred or contempt
- Causes the person to be shunned or avoided
- Lowers the person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally
- Disparages the person in his/her business, trade, office or profession
(Dodd & Hanna 2014)
The Defamation Act 2013 might afford journalists more protection from libel cases, but they should not be complacent. Sub-editors are vital for ensuring good journalistic practice, in the same way a copy editor ensures a novel is well-written and free from typos. In an ideal world, each and every article written in every single newspaper in the world would be sub-edited before it goes to print, but in the fast-paced whirlwind of deadlines, this might not always be the case.
I learnt a lot from iCov. In the 2014 BJTC Awards, the site won the coveted Steve Harris Award. With well-written and legal content, other news sites can undoubtedly reach the same heights.