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Writing Books/defamation of character


I'm writing a nonfiction book that exposes potentially damaging  corruption within a large publically-funded program. I cite references throughout to back up my position. Some of my material is based on news articles quoting public officials and program managers. If the material I use is from credible news media sources, can I be held liable for their misstatements?
Also, will you recommend a few websites or books that might provide me further information?

Thanks for your question, Bea.

I'm not a lawyer, but I know this: Anyone can sue anyone over anything. Whether the suing party wins is another matter.

Here is an excellent article on your question:

The research librarian at your local library or bookstore might be able to suggest books on the topic of publishing liability.

Your best bet is to consult an attorney knowledgeable in this specialty.

Best wishes for every success.

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Wayne Groner


I can answer questions on all aspects of writing memoirs, biographies, family histories, and corporate histories including handling sensitive issues, interviewing, editing, self-publishing, and setting up a business as a memoir writer.


I have more than twenty-five years of experience as a radio and television news reporter, author, freelance writer, and workshop presenter. I present classes to nonprofits and professional groups, "How to Write Your Memoir or Life Story." I'm author of four nonfiction books. My latest book is A Guide to Writing Your Memoir or Life Story: Tools, Tips, Methods and Examples, available in paperback and eBook at Amazon. I'm past president of Springfield Writers' Guild (Missouri). My articles and book reviews on a variety of topics have been published in national magazines and on the Web. I was a senior-level college administrator for twenty-seven years, including nine years as a vice president, during which I wrote newsletters, brochures, magazine articles, and published and edited an alumni magazine.

Missouri Center for the Book, Springfield Writers' Guild, Greene County Historical Society, Christian County Historical Society.

Books: Witnesses of Hope, Faith, Love and Healing; Dumb Luck or Divine Guidance; The Pastor's Guide to Fund-raising Success; Levell-Drew Family History. National magazines including CASE Currents, Congregations, Ozarks Mountaineer, Your Community Hospice, Power and Light series of Sunday-school curriculum for adult learners.

Graceland College

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