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From the Winter 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 23. Who's the Boss? These shield laws…

From the Winter 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 23.

Who’s the Boss? These shield laws specifically protect only certain types of media. They often identify employees of newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations as the only individuals covered by the statute, but some also extend protections to books, films and electronic means of communication.

Example: Alabama’s shield law applies to anyone "connected with or employed on any newspaper, radio broadcasting station or television station, while engaged in a news-gathering capacity."

States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

Paid-for-play: These shield laws apply specifically to professional journalists who receive some level of financial gain for their work. These laws may or may not protect bloggers, college journalists or freelancers.

Example: New York’s shield law applies to anyone "who, for gain or livelihood, is engaged in gathering, preparing, collecting, writing, editing, filming, taping or photographing of news intended for a newspaper, magazine, news agency, press association or wire service or other professional medium which has as one of its regular functions the processing and researching of news intended for dissemination to the public; such person shall be someone performing said function either as a regular employee or as one otherwise professionally affiliated for gain or livelihood with such medium of communication.

States: Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, New York and North Carolina.

Functional: These shield laws do not restrict their application based on the type of media or whether journalists are paid for their efforts. Rather, they focus on whether an individual gathers and disseminates news information to the public. These are ordinarily the most inclusive shield laws.

Example: Minnesota’s shield law applies to any "person who is or has been directly engaged in the gathering, procuring, compiling, editing or publishing of information for the purpose of transmission, dissemination or publication to the public."

States: Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington