Bloggers after the Shield: Defining Journalism in Privilege Law

Journal of Media Law & Ethics, Vol. 1, pp. 186-216, 2010

31 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2011  

Jason M. Shepard

California State University, Fullerton

Date Written: August 15, 2011

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.

Keywords: journalist’s privilege, newsgathering, bloggers, journalism

Suggested Citation

Shepard, Jason M., Bloggers after the Shield: Defining Journalism in Privilege Law (August 15, 2011). Journal of Media Law & Ethics, Vol. 1, pp. 186-216, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1910048

Jason M. Shepard (Contact Author)

California State University, Fullerton ( email )

PO Box 6846
Fullerton, CA 92831
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jasonmshepard.com

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