The Newark Star-Ledger reports:
A blogger sued for defamation because of her writings about a Freehold software company is not a journalist and is not covered by a law that protects them from revealing confidential sources, an appellate court ruled today.
In a decision that attempts to better define who is protected by New Jersey’s shield law, the court said Shellee Hale’s writings about Too Much Media LLC, which supplies software to online pornography websites, amounted to nothing more than a letter-to-the-editor in a newspaper.
And why is that?
At a hearing in Freehold last year, Hale told Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio that she wrote comments on the message board of Oprano.com, the self-described Wall Street Journal of the pornography industry, as a way to cultivate sources and gather information.
Locascio ruled Hale, who said she intended to publish her findings on her own website, was not a member of the news media because she was not affiliated with a media organization and had not performed roles of a journalist, such as fact-checking.
Isn’t that delightful? Yep, that’s what separates professional journalists from the rest of us: the way they check their facts. The method by which they ensure that the things they write down are factual. Professional reporters do that, bloggers don’t.
Wait, what century is it?