No Shield for Blogger, N.J. Court Rules

June 13, 2011 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal

A recent court decision declared that blogger Shellee Hale cannot be protected under the Shield Law, which allows journalists to keep their sources hidden.

The case of Too Much Media LLC vs Hale stems from a message board post Hale wrote, allegedly defaming Freehold software company Too Much Media LLC.

Hale's attorney, Jeffrey Pollock, says the ruling erodes what had been one of the strongest shield laws in the country.

"They're now saying that nontraditional news media whose intent is to publish news are not covered by the Shield Law. But worse of all, they applied this change retroactively to Shellee." He says he may ask the court to reconsider the retroactivity issue.

Others who commented on the case agreed the ruling focused more on the nature of the professional relationship rather than what was being reported. Others said this could worry those who maintain individual news blogs and bring the debate over who is a journalist to life again.