Justices Wrestle With Who Is a Journalist in the Age of the Blog

February 14, 2011 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal

The case involving Shellee Hale, a blogger being sued for defamation over her postings on a web bulletin board for the adult entertainment industry, is being heard by the New Jersey State Supreme Court, which will decide whether she can cloak herself in the New Jersey Shield Law and refuse to disclose a source. Jeffrey Pollock, Hale’s lawyer, urged the Court to overturn the two lower court rulings and grant Hale the protections of the statute. He told the Court it was not necessary to look at any First Amendment issues to decide the case.

“You need look no further than the Shield Law itself,” said Pollock. The Shield Law gives writers protection against being forced to disclose information about sources of information. “Shellee Hale has proved a prima facie case that she is entitled to the protection of the Shield Law.” Pollock said Hale had publicly announced her intentions to investigate the porn industry, was investigating an issue of public importance and collecting news.