Appeals Court Upholds Ruling That Blog Commenter Was Not A Journalist
from the too-bad dept
The court ruled against her, saying that because she had "no connection to any legitimate news publication," her own investigations weren't journalism. That's troubling for a variety of reasons, especially given the wide latitude in determining what constitutes a "legitimate news publication." Hale appealed, and unfortunately, the ruling last week from the appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling:
"Simply put, new media should not be confused with news media," wrote Superior Court Appellate Judge Anthony J. Parrillo.The court also claimed that her activities were not journalism because they "exhibited none of the recognized qualities or characteristics traditionally associated with the news process, nor has she demonstrated an established connection or affiliation with any news entity."
Again, this is problematic. In an age of participatory journalism, people who do journalism don't need "an established connection or affiliation with any news entity." They can easily establish one with various sites, or they can simply set themselves up as a "news organization" on their own. Furthermore, as technology has changed the whole process of journalism, there's an awful lot about journalism today that "exhibits none of the recognized qualities or characteristics traditionally associated with the news process." That's because the news process is constantly changing -- such as its expansion into participatory efforts these days. This ruling is troubling in that it looks backwards, not forward. It's also a reminder that rather than various broken state laws that shield journalists, it really is time for a federal shield law to protect journalists.