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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Filed Under: journalism, new hampshire, new media


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Victory!!!

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