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Thursday August 24, 2017

NJ Supreme Court To Hear Blogger’s Shield Law Appeal

The New Jersey Supreme Court will hear an appeal by life coach and blogger Shellee Hale, who argued that a State appellate court wrongly determined that she wasn't a journalist eligible for protection under the State's shield law, a MediaPost article said.

Hale had criticized software company Too Much Media, on a message board, and that company sued for defamation, attempting to make Hale reveal her sources. Hale had argued that she was acting as an Internet reporter exposing corruption. Her lawyer argued that the lower court's decision could put all online journalists at risk of losing the benefits of the shield law.

MediaPost

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> Court Says NJ Shield Law Doesn't Protect All Writers

> Blogging and the Threat of Lawsuits

  • My personal opinion…this situation seems pretty clear cut — anyone can call themselves a “journalist” and for good reason. We don’t want the government to regulate journalism. This is the reason that unlike other professions, journalists are not required to register with the government the way that doctors or lawyers are. So yes, anyone who is writing to an audience is technically a “journalist” and should have the same protections. The shield law is an important part of upholding our right to accurate information.
    It is interesting to see how this plays out in our new society where most of us are “journalists” with blogs and posts and so on.