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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: journalism, new hampshire, new media

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 7 May 2010 @ 5:45pm

    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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.