Because the Idaho decisions have involved traditional journalists, engaged in reporting for newspapers or television, it is clear that the reporter’s privilege – to whatever extent it exists under Idaho law – applies to the activities of traditional news gatherers.
In Jacobsen v. Doe, 2012 WL 2946753 (Idaho Dist. Ct. July 10, 2012), a state trial court judge rejected the argument that Idaho’s reporter’s privilege applied to information disclosing the identities, email addresses and IP addresses of bloggers. The court held that the individual who administered and facilitated the Blog at issue – and was the subject of the subpoena – was not “acting as a reporter who was gathering newsworthy information at the time the statements were made, but instead acted as a facilitator or administrator of the Blog.” Thus, the reporter’s privilege did not apply.
The statutes granting a privilege do not contain any definitions of reporter, editor, news, photojournalist or media. However, MCL 767.5a(1) provides that any person “who is involved in the gathering or preparation of news for broadcast or publication shall not be required to disclose the identity of an informant, any unpublished information obtained from an informant, or any unpublished matter or documentation, in whatever manner recorded, relating to a communication with an informant.” This privilege is granted in order to ensure the “unimpeded flow of information, comment, and public opinion.” In re Photo Mktg. Ass’n Int’l, 120 Mich. App. at 530 (citing Riley v. City of Chester, 612 F.2d 708, 715 (3d Cir. 1979)).
The language of the shield statutes is very broad. Any "person engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by" any broadcaster or newspaper is covered. R.C. §§2739.04, 2739.12.The newsgatherer must be acting in the course and scope of employment for the privilege to apply.Svoboda v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 156 Ohio App.3d 307, 2004-Ohio-894, 805 N.E.2d 559 (6th Dist.).