Shielding Journalist-“Bloggers”: The Need to Protect Newsgathering Despite the Distribution Medium

By: Laura Durity

The failure to agree on a sufficiently narrow definition of “journalist” has stalled efforts to enact a federal shield law to legally protect reporter-source communications from compelled disclosure in federal court. The increasing use of the Internet in news coverage and the greater reliance by the public on the Internet as a news source creates further problems as to who should qualify for federal shield law protection. This iBrief argues that a functional definition of “journalist” can be created to shield journalists from compelled source disclosure so as to protect the free flow of information to the public, but limits must be set to prevent abuse of such protection.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0011