Friday, May 8, 2009

Blogger or journalist?

Friday, May 08, 2009

A judge in New Jersey has been asked to decide a prickly question that could alter the course of online news: is a blogger a journalist? New Jersey software company Too Much Media LLC has sued Shellee Hale, a Washington state mother and activist who runs four blogs, and claims Hale slandered the company in a message posted on one of the company’s online community boards. Hale posting stated security weaknesses in software developed my Too Much Media LLC could allow hackers to access an user’s private information, and cited anonymous sources for her inside knowledge. The company balked, saying the software’s security issues were resolved before any customer information became vulnerable, and argues Hale’s posting slandered the company’s reputation. Hale contends the information was gleaned during her investigation into the company's online security issues, and claims she is protected from revealing her sources under the New Jersey Shield Law, which protects working journalists from revealing a sources indentity in certain situations. The company’s crying foul, saying Hale’s merely a dangerous heckler sounding off on, an online forum, and doesn’t deserve the protections provided to journalists. So, just who is a "journalist?" Bloggers? Tweeters, for that matter? Mounmouth County Superior Court Judge Louis Locasio may be amongst the first judges to weigh this complex question, which is drawing mixed opinions from bloggers and 'traditional" journalists alike.

1 Responses to “Blogger or journalist?”

Jeffrey M. Pollock said...
6:09 PM, May 08, 2009

If anyone wants a copy of the briefs or the transcripts for this matter, please let me know. Jeffrey M. Pollock, Esq.

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