New Hampshire Supreme Court Recognizes That New Media Can Be News Media

from the good-news dept

We’ve seen a lot of cases lately concerning whether or not certain new media sites or participants were actually covered by various journalism shield laws (which are all at the state level, currently). In some recent cases judges have ruled against the idea, saying “new media should not be confused with news media.” However, up in New Hampshire, it appears that state Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling, and noted that a new media site absolutely can be considered part of the press.

The case involved a website graphically named The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter, which had apparently published a document that mortgage lender, Mortgage Specialists, had filed with the state, but which Mortgage Specialists did not want public. So it sued Implode-O-Meter and demanded it reveal its source, claiming that New Hampshire’s journalist shield law did not apply, because:

“the newsgathering privilege is inapplicable here because Implode is neither an established media entity nor engaged in investigative reporting.”

While the lower court agreed and ruled that the source should be revealed, the state Supreme Court rejected that claim, noting that:

It explained that “[t]he fact that Implode operates a website makes it no less a member of the press,” and that “Implode’s website serves an informative function and contributes to the flow of information to the public.” … Therefore, the court concluded, “Implode is a reporter for purposes of the newsgathering privilege.”

Of course, as Sam Bayard’s writeup notes, New Hampshire’s newsgathering privilege law is limited, so the courts might still force the site to cough up the source, but at least some courts are recognizing that not being “an established media entity” doesn’t mean you can’t be press.

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Comments on “New Hampshire Supreme Court Recognizes That New Media Can Be News Media”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

The Cheshire Cat Grins ....

With a sizable chunk of the people between young and thirty five getting the majority of their news from social networking, aggregation, and their favorite topic specific sites. This ruling bodes well for the future of news. It does not bode well for the pay for news crowd.

An ode to Rupert Murdoch and news corp …. ROFLMAO

Robert A. Rosenberg (profile) says:

… at least some courts are recognizing that not being “an established media entity” doesn’t mean you can’t be press.

Query – If you are just starting out, how do you establish yourself as an “an established media entity” or do you automatically qualify if you have the same distribution/publishing method as someone who already qualifies as one? IOW: Do you automatically qualify just because you have started to publish a newspaper (and does the newspaper need to be done with dead trees not recycled electrons [ie: As a PDF document]). If the former then this makes any new technology not-eligible until some court puts the seal-of-approval on it (as just occurred in this case).

Peter says:

Supreme Court bias

The flip side
Murder Suicide is apparently the only way a civilized society will allow those in need to communicate: time. Desperation or depression our government and news media will play the best card to benefit themselves. PTSD by many different names for each conflict or war receives a different solution to publicly dispose of disabled Veterans with silence for majority satisfaction. The VA knows medicine that they distribute for such disabilities does not work. They still prescribe it to take the mind of the individual veteran away for silence is the VA?s success. The VA through red tape can discourage US Military veterans in need of care to just give up. Lost records or undiagnosed injuries not claimed at discharge are refused medical care for budget reasons. Red Flags under the safety proper gander innuendo allows the VA to insult and embarrass Veterans in desperate need of medical care for the very medical issues causing the unacceptable responses to leave and become homeless for it just is not worth harming the nation we did it for.
Government Retribution is a criminal violation of our Constitution as the VA stops my medical care to stop my opinion letters of government wrongs. A change in the brain is now the new route cause of PTSD. MY TBI and PTSD change my mind and thought patterns every day. No one can accept that my travel back to the death of lying so still in a benjo ditch for the gooks to pass as my M-16 under orders from back here in the world cannot be locked and loaded until ?eminent danger of death?. The realities of being taken on one convoy across Cambodia by three gooks until I could kill one in hand to hand combat and escape is with me all the time. Losing my freedom for six months back here in NH to stop my words of the NH Supreme Court discrimination by refusing to hear a case of Judge Peter Fauver using the trusted power of the courts to enable the Madbury NH selectmen to take from local residents for personal self gain is highlighted by the civilized societies refusal to communicate with me. The bogus charges were dropped but stopping medical care for combat related disabilities and taking my freedom to stop my freedom of speech infers abolish by lock and load. Civilized society uses the phrase Communication to solve problems avoids the need for violence. Do you think if someone talked more to that thirty-seven year old woman that shot her husband in the Castle parking lot yesterday may be the solution. It has gotten so bad back here that the NH governor made me pay to speak with him of government wrongs. This is a criminal violation of our Constitution by the governor making a voter pay to communicate. He took my money and we still have not talked.
What danger is my coming back alive? Freedom and the guaranteed rights of our Constitution have to be equal for all US citizens. Biased news media reporting of government harm to US Military Veterans cannot be tolerated. This has to be the flip side! The news media censor of this letter tells it all how the USA feel of Veterans coming back alive
Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi

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