Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bloggers as Journalists and the Protections of the Shield Laws

Jason M. Shepard, California State University, Fullerton, has published Bloggers after the Shield: Defining Journalism in Privilege Law, at 1 Journal of Media Law & Ethics 186 (2010). Here is the abstract.

Josh Wolf claims to be the longest jailed journalist in American history after courts rejected his journalist’s privilege claims and he spent 226 days in prison. But was the blogger really a journalist entitled to invoke privilege protections? Academics, journalists, lawyers, judges and lawmakers have struggled to articulate legal definitions of journalism as bloggers increasingly seek newsgathering protections. This article evaluates controversies in state statutory interpretation, federal shield law proposals and federal common-law development. The article argues that the analytical evolution in federal and state case law supports expanding privilege protection to bloggers whose purposes, processes and products are similar to professional journalists’ historical practices and values.


Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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