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e. News organization/medium

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  • 10th Circuit

    In Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 563 F.2d 433, 436-37 (10th Cir. 1977), the court held that the First Amendment reporter's privilege extended to a film maker producing a documentary.

     

    In the unpublished decision of Prager v. Campbell Cty. Mem’l Hosp., the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming held that unpublished photographs of a public event do not qualify for protection.  No. 10-CV-0202-J, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160591, *6 (D. Wy. May 18, 2011) (stating “these are pictures, not a reporters interview and/or source material”).

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  • 1st Circuit

    Courts have applied the reporter’s privilege to information published in a variety of media.  Rather than focusing on the forum in which the information appears, the courts instead consider the information gatherer’s purpose for obtaining the information.  In United States v. Doe (In the matter of Falk), the court states, “In no way do [an academic writer’s] facts become any less a part of the ‘spectrum of available knowledge’ for appearing in books and articles rather than in a newspaper.  Such media are vehicles of information and opinion of a type long recognized by the Supreme Court as being within its definition of the press.” 332 F. Supp. 938, 941 (D. Mass 1971) (internal quotations omitted) (quoting Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452 (1938)).  In determining whether the reporter’s privilege is applicable to a particular writing, the courts consider whether the person gathering the information was “engaged in the dissemination of investigative information,” and whether the information “relates to matters of public concern.” Summit Tech., Inc. v. Healthcare Capital Group, Inc., 141 F.R.D. 381, 384 (D. Mass. 1992); see also Cusumano v. Microsoft Corp., 162 F.3d 708, 714 (1st Cir. 1998).

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  • 2nd Circuit

    The Second Circuit has not distinguished among media. The same law applies to any entity or individual as long as the entity or individual gathers information in the course of newsgathering duties and has the intention to disseminate the information to the public. Von Bulow v. Von Bulow, 811 F.2d 136, 144 (2d Cir. 1987).

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  • 3rd Circuit

    The Third Circuit has held that persons or entities seeking to invoke the First Amendment-based privilege bear the burden of demonstrating that they are "engaged in investigative reporting, gathering news, and have the intent at the beginning of the news-gathering process to disseminate this information to the public." In re Madden, 151 F.3d at 130. As the court explained, "[t]his test does not grant status to any person with a manuscript, a web page or a film, but requires an intent at the inception of the newsgathering process to disseminate investigative news to the public. As we see it, the privilege is available only to those persons whose purposes are those traditionally inherent to the press; persons gathering news for publication." Id. at 129-30. Nevertheless, it also observed that "'it makes no difference whether the intended manner of dissemination was by newspaper, magazine, book, public or private broadcast or handbill because the press, in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.'" Id. at 129 (citations omitted).

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  • 4th Circuit

    The Fourth Circuit does not explicitly define or limit applicability of the reporter’s privilege to certain media, though the case law has not addressed the privilege in the context of the Internet or magazines. The Circuit has applied the privilege to reporters at small and large newspapers, as well as local television stations and national broadcast networks. See, e.g., Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 282, 284, 28 Media L. Rep. 2103 (4th Cir. 2000) (reporter for Wilmington, N.C., Morning Star newspaper); Bischoff v. United States, 25 Media L. Rep. 1286 (reporter for Houston Post); Penland v. Long, 922 F. Supp. 1080, 1082, 24 Media L. Rep. 1410 (W.D.N.C. 1995) (reporter for local WLOS-TV and reporter for The Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times); In re Shain, 978 F.2d 850, 851, 20 Media L. Rep. 1930 (4th Cir. 1992) (four reporters for South Carolina newspapers); LaRouche v. Nat’l Broadcasting Co., 780 F.2d 1134, 1136, 12 Media L. Rep. 1585 (4th Cir. 1986) (producers of NBC national television shows).

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  • 5th Circuit

    No reported decision of the Fifth Circuit holds that a particular news medium cannot claim the privilege.

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  • 6th Circuit

    The federal courts in the Sixth Circuit have not defined the parameters of the scope of a reporter's privilege, insofar as the kind of person or organization which enjoys the privilege.

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  • 7th Circuit

    In a diversity case in which Illinois law applied, a freelance journalist was entitled to invoke the reporter’s privilege.  Simon v. Northwestern Univ., No. 15-cv-1433, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94509 at *3 (N.D. Ill. June 20, 2017).

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  • 9th Circuit

    The Shoen I court rejected the proposition that only members of specific news media have standing to assert the reporter’s privilege. Shoen I, 5 F.3d at 1293. According to the court, “the journalist’s privilege is designed to protect investigative reporting, regardless of the medium used to report the news to the public.” Id. The court further held that “what makes journalism journalism is not its format but its content.” Id.

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  • Alabama

    Alabama's shield statute applies to reporters working for newspapers, radio broadcasting stations, and television stations. Ala. Code § 12-21-142. In Price v. Time, Inc., 416 F.3d 1327, 1335-43 (11th Cir. 2005), after the Supreme Court of Alabama had declined to answer a certified question regarding the scope of the shield statute, the Eleventh Circuit held that magazine reporters are excluded from the statute's application. Likewise, in an earlier, unreported opinion, a federal court sitting in the state strictly construed the shield statute to exclude reporters working for trade journals from the shield statute's application. Long v. Cooper, No. CV85-H-801-S (N.D. Ala. Apr. 10, 1986).

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  • Alaska

    Alaska appellate courts have not had occasion to squarely address the existence or scope of a reporter's privilege, and the trial courts have not had occasion to address the definition of "media" or a "news organization" for purposes of applying the privilege. The shield law, in AS 09.25.390(1), defines "news organization" as:

    (A) an individual, partnership, corporation, or other association regularly engaged in the business of

    (i) publishing a newspaper or other periodical that reports news events, is issued at regular intervals, and has a general circulation;

    (ii) providing newsreels or other motion picture news for public showing; or

    (iii) broadcasting news to the public by wire, radio, television, or facsimile;

    (B) a press association or other association of individuals, partnerships, corporations, or other associations described in (A)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this paragraph engaged in gathering news and disseminating it to its members for publication.

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  • Arizona

    The Arizona Shield Law expressly applies to "newspaper, radio [and] television" media. A.R.S. § 12-2237. The Arizona Media Subpoena Law includes that media, but sweeps more broadly. See A.R.S. § 12-2214(A) (statute applies to persons "engaged in gathering, reporting, writing, editing, publishing or broadcasting news to the public").

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  • Arkansas

    The statute broadly applies to “media sources” and specifically cites newspapers, periodicals, radio stations, television stations, and internet news sources.

    In Ragland v. K-Mart Corp., 274 Ark. 297, 624 S.W.2d 430 (1981), the Arkansas Supreme Court defined "newspaper" in the context of an advertising and sales tax case. The court stated that

    The definition of a newspaper . . . is to be taken in its popular sense, which is one to which the general public would resort in order to be informed of the news and intelligence of the day, and which is published at stated intervals and carries reports of those happenings of general importance and interest to the ordinary individuals. "Newspaper" has also been defined as "a paper that is printed and distributed daily, weekly, or at some other regular and usually short interval and that contains news, articles of opinion (as editorials), features, advertising, or other matter regarded as of current interest."

    Id. at 299, 624 S.W.2d at 431 (quoting Continental Life Ins. Co. v. Mahoney, 185 Ark. 748, 49 S.W.2d 731 (1932)).

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  • California

    California’s shield laws protect persons presently or previously “connected with or employed upon” a “newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication or by a press association or wire service” or a radio or television station. Cal. Const. Art. I, § 2(b); Cal. Evid. Code § 1070.

    In one California case, the court applied the First Amendment’s qualified immunity to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, which publishes magazines and newsletters, although the court noted that the ruling conferring protection on this entity was not challenged. Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 4th 1072, 1079-80, 79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 597 (1998). However, the court pointed out that the Anti-Defamation League was protected “only to the extent its activities or those of its agents constitute journalism.” Id. at 1098. Similarly, in O’Grady v. Superior Court, 139 Cal. App. 4th 1423, 1460-66, 44 Cal. Rptr. 3d 72 (2006), the court concluded that a website devoted to news regarding Apple Computers was a covered entity because it could be considered a “periodical publication” protected by the shield law. The court reasoned that “there is no apparent link between the core purpose of the law, which is to shield the gathering of news for dissemination to the public, and the characteristic of appearing in traditional print, on traditional paper.” Id. at 1462. After thoroughly analyzing the method of publication on the internet and comparing the web pages at issue to traditional print publications, the court concluded that “[i]t seems likely that the Legislature intended the phrase ‘periodical publication’ to include all ongoing, recurring news publications while excluding nonrecurring publications such as books, pamphlets, flyers, and monographs.” Id. at 1466.

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  • Colorado

    The statute does not include the medium or organization in its definition of a newsperson. The statute specifically says that individual employees or independent contractors are covered by the privilege. C.R.S. 13-90-119(1)(c). Furthermore, the Colorado Supreme Court has held that the owner of a radio station does not have standing to assert the privilege. Gordon, 9 P.3d at 1122. The federal court's definition of a newsperson may be broad enough to include a news organization or medium. In Quigley v. Rosenthal, 43 F. Supp. 2d 1163 (D. Colo. 1999), the District Court found that the newsperson's privilege extended to the Anti-Defamation League by virtue of the fact that the ADL engages in newsgathering activities and because it publishes books, periodicals and pamphlets.

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  • Connecticut

    The Shield Law defines "News Media" as

    (A) Any newspaper, magazine or other periodical, book publisher, news agency, wire service, radio or television station or network, cable or satellite or other transmission system or carrier, or channel or programming service for such station, network, system or carrier, or audio or audiovisual production company that disseminates information to the public, whether by print, broadcast, photographic, mechanical, electronic or any other means or medium;

    (B) Any person who is or has been an employee, agent or independent contractor of any entity specified in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision and is or has been engaged in gathering, preparing or disseminating information to the public for such entity, or any other person supervising or assisting such person with gathering, preparing or disseminating information; or

    (C) Any parent, subsidiary, division or affiliate of any person or entity specified in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision to the extent the subpoena or other compulsory process seeks the identity of a source or the information described in subsection (b) of this section.

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  • D.C. Cir.

    The D.C. Circuit has not expressly determined what qualifies as a “news organization.”  Rather, in United States v. Hubbard, 493 F. Supp. 202, 205 (D.D.C. 1979), the court rejected the notion that a journalist reporting for a newspaper should be distinguished from an author writing a book on his own.  Noting that reporters normally receive salaries for their newsgathering efforts, the court ruled that whether newsgathering is conducted for financial gain is legally irrelevant, stating, “Such financial gain does not taint the importance of the services to our cherished first amendment goals.”  Id.  Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452 (1938), the court wrote that the reporter’s privilege must encompass all newsgathering efforts, not simply those for newspapers: “‘The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.’”  Id.

    Likewise relying on Lovell, legislative history, Defense Department directives, and an affidavit of the Stars and Stripes Editorial Director, the district court held in Tripp v. Department of Defense that the military publication Stars and Stripes is a newspaper and therefore should receive First Amendment protections.  284 F. Supp. 2d 50, 55-57 (D.D.C. 2003).

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  • Delaware

    Covered under the definition of "reporter." See 10 Del. C. § 4320 (4)(b).

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  • District of Columbia

    The District’s shield law defines “news media” as “newspapers, magazines, journals, press associations, news agencies, wire services, radio, television, or any printed, photographic, mechanical, or electronic means of disseminating news and information to the public.”  D.C. Code § 16-4701.

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  • Florida

    The privilege generally protects employees and independent contractors of newspapers, news journals, news agencies, press associations, wire services, radio stations, television stations, networks, and news magazines. § 90.5015(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2016). The statute itself does not specifically address Internet-based communications, but the statutory privilege has been invoked successfully by Internet publications and their reporters. See, e.g., Gubarev v. BuzzFeed, Inc., Case No. 1:17-CV-60426, 2017 WL 6547898, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 21, 2017) (“Because BuzzFeed writes stories and publishes news articles on its website, it qualifies as a ‘news agency,’ ‘news journal’ or ‘news magazine.’ Accordingly, BuzzFeed is covered under the Florida Shield Law. Defendant Smith is also covered by the Florida Shield Law through his employment at BuzzFeed.”); TheStreet.com, Inc. v. Carroll, 20 So.3d 947, 948 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) (noting that parties seeking to invoke privilege were “a financial media company, internet website and publisher” and “an investigative reporter for the company’s publications”).

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  • Georgia

    By its express statutory language, the privilege applies to "[a]ny person, company, or other entity engaged in the gathering or dissemination of news for the public through a newspaper, book, magazine, or radio or television broadcast, or electronic means." O.C.G.A. § 24-5-508.

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  • Hawaii

    There is no current Hawai‘i statute or other authority addressing this issue.There is no current Hawai‘i statute or other authority addressing this issue.

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  • Idaho

    The Idaho cases do not attempt to define the news organization or news media eligible to claim the privilege. However, the Caldero court, even though rejecting adoption of a reporter's privilege, defined the “press” in expansive terms in its discussion of the value of the First Amendment. In stating that obtaining the "truth" is critically important in our society, the court said that “[t]he only reliable source of that truth is a ‘press’ (which is to say everyone – pamphleteers, nonconformists, undergrounders) which is free to publish that truth without government censorship.” Caldero, 98 Idaho at 298, 562 P.2d at 801.

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  • Illinois

    The Statute defines “news medium” as “any newspaper or other periodical issued at regular intervals whether in print or electronic format and having a general circulation; a new service whether in print or electronic format; a radio station; a television station; a television network; a community antenna television service; and any person or corporation engaged in the making of news reels or other motion picture news for public showing.” 735 ILCS 5/8-902(b).  See Simon v. Northwestern Univ., 321 F.R.D. 328, 331 n. 3, 45 Media L. Rep. 1961 (N.D. Ill. 2017) (court had “little trouble concluding that” documentary film was a “news medium” under the statutory language).

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  • Indiana

    Indiana’s shield law applies to any person connected with newspapers; other periodicals issued at regular intervals and having a general circulation; recognized press associations or wire services; and licensed radio or television stations. Ind. Code § 34-46-4-1.

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  • Iowa

    Iowa statutes do not define the terms media, news organization, and news medium. Iowa case law is sparse on this issue, but the Iowa Supreme Court has found publishing companies are media defendants. Bierman v. Weier, 826 N.W.2d 436 (Iowa 2013). The reporter’s privilege was not at issue in Bierman, so this should not be interpreted to mean a person working for a publisher is eligible for the reporter’s privilege.

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  • Kansas

    The definition of “journalist” in the Kansas shield law includes “publisher(s) . . . magazine(s), news wire service(s), television station(s) (and) radio station(s).”  K.S.A. 60-480(a)(1).  It also includes “online journal(s) in the regular business of newsgathering and disseminating news or information to the public.”  K.S.A. 60-480(a)(2).

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  • Kentucky

    The Kentucky reporter’s shield law, KRS 421.100, protects only those persons employed or engaged by or connected with a newspaper, radio or television station.

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  • Louisiana

    For the purposes of the Louisiana shield law relating to sources, the statute defines news media as "any newspaper or other periodical issued at regular intervals and having a paid general circulation; press associations; wire service; radio; television; and persons or corporations engaged in the making of news reels or other motion picture news for public showing." La. R.S. 45:1451. "Reporter" is defined as "any person regularly engaged in the business of collecting, writing or editing news for publication through a news media." Id. An argument can be made that a news organization is a "reporter" because it is a "person regularly engaged in the business of collecting, writing or editing news. . . ."

    While no Louisiana state court has addressed directly the reporter's privilege as it relates to a news organization, it appears that the privilege may be invoked by a newspaper or other news medium. See Becnel, 420 So.2d at 1175 ("The statutes define reporter as 'any person regularly engaged in the business of collecting, writing and editing news for publication through a news media.' . . . Without a doubt, a newspaper is engaged in the business of collecting, writing and editing news for public dissemination.")(emphasis in original).

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  • Maine

    Maine’s courts have not addressed this issue.

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  • Maryland

    Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 9-112(a) defines "news media" as (1) [n]ewspapers; (2) [m]agazines; (3) [j]ournals; (4) [p]ress associations; (5) [n]ews agencies; (6) [w]ire services; (7) [r]adio; (8) [t]elevision; and (9) [a]ny printed, photographic, mechanical, or electronic means of disseminating news and information to the public."

    There is no case law applying this definition.

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  • Massachusetts

    Courts have not defined the media, for purposes of the privilege.

    However, in Summit Technology, Inc. v. Healthcare Capital Group, Inc., 141 F.R.D. 381, 384 (D. Mass. 1992), the court held that an investment analyst who had written a report on a company, though not a member of the "organized press" per se, could invoke the reporter's privilege.

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  • Michigan

    The statutes granting a privilege do not contain any definitions of reporter, editor, news, photo journalist or media.

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  • Minnesota

    Courts have applied the privilege to news organizations in Bauer v. Gannett Co., Inc. (KARE 11), 557 N.W.2d 608 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (television station), overruled to the extent inconsistent with Weinberger v. Maplewood Review, 668 N.W.2d 667 (Minn. 2003); McNeilus v. Corporate Report, Inc., 21 Media L. Rep. 2171, 2174ñ75 (Dodge Cty., Minn., Dist. Ct. 1993) (magazine publisher); Aerial Burials, Inc. v. Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co., 8 Media L. Rep. 1653 (Hennepin Cty., Minn., Dist. Ct. 1982) (newspaper).

    Cases involving news organizations, but denying protection for other reasons, include Heaslip v. Freeman, 511 N.W.2d 21 (Minn. App. 1994) (photographs).

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  • Mississippi

    Neither the opinions from the federal district courts of Mississippi nor the selected trial court orders further define or discuss "news organization" or "news medium" for purposes of applying the qualified privilege.

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  • Missouri

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Montana

    The Montana law only gives its protection to certain defined media and those employed by or connected with that media for the purpose of gathering or disseminating news.

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  • Nebraska

    The privilege is applicable to those engaged in "gathering, receiving, or processing of information for any medium of communication to the public." Neb. Rev. Stat. § 20-146(1) and (2). "Medium of communication shall include, but not be limited to, any newspaper, magazine, other periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system." Neb. Rev. Stat. § 20-145(2).

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  • Nevada

    NRS 49.275 specifies that the privilege is applicable to reporters, former reporters, and editorial employees of any newspaper, periodical or press association, and employees of any radio or television station. It does not provide any definitions for these terms. The privilege has been found applicable to a newspaper (as opposed to a reporter from a newspaper) and its publisher. Las Vegas Sun, Inc. v. Schwartz, 104 Nev. 508, 515 n.7, 761 P.2d 849, 854 n.7 (1988), overruled on other grounds, Diaz v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 116 Nev. 88, 993 P.2d 50 (2000) ("We are satisfied that the legislature meant to include newspaper publishers in its definition of 'editorial employees.'").

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  • New Hampshire

    Yes. See Downing v. Monitor Publishing Co., Inc., 120 N.H. 383 (1980), and Mortgage Specialists, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc., 160 N.H. 227, 233 (2010).

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  • New Jersey

    The New Jersey statute was amended in 1977 to extend the privilege to all media. The current definition of "news media" includes "newspapers, magazines, press associations, news agencies, wire services, radio, television or other similar printed, photographic, mechanical or electronic means of disseminating news to the general public." Although web sites are not specifically mentioned in the statute the inclusion of "electronic means of disseminating news" is broad enough to include web sites.  Indeed, in Too Much Media, LLC v. Hale, 206 N.J. 209 (2011), the Supreme Court stated that the Shield Law was not limited to traditional news outlets but also encompasses other means of disseminating news which are similar to traditional news sources.  See also In re Jan. 11, 2013 Subpoena, 432 N.J. Super. 570 (Law Div. 2013) (applying Too Much Media and holding that the writer and editor of a blog reporting an alleged waste corruption and mismanagement in local government was entitled to invoke the Shield Law).

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  • New Mexico

    Rule 11-514 confers the privilege on persons engaged by “news media,” which it defines as “newspapers, magazines, press associations, news agencies, wire services, radio, television, or other similar printed, photographic, mechanical, or electronic means of disseminating news to the general public.” Rule 11-514(A)(5), (B) NMRA.

    The statutory privilege applicable to nonjudicial proceedings is somewhat more dated and less flexible. It extends to persons who work on behalf of “a newspaper, magazine, news agency, news or feature syndicate, press association or wire service,” or a “broadcast or television station or network, or cable television system.” NMSA 1978, § 38-6-7(A), (B)(2), (7) to (8) (1973).

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  • New York

    While there are few cases in New York that specifically address what constitutes a protected news organization, the intent of the legislature in enacting the 1981 amendment to the Shield Law, which expanded the category of protected persons and entities, was "to provide broad and pervasive protection to all aspects of the process of news gathering and dissemination." Wilkins v. Kalla, 118 Misc.2d 34, 37, 459 N.Y.S.2d 985, 987 (1983). The Shield Law has been continuously interpreted broadly with respect to the types of news organizations falling under the definition provided in Civil Rights Law § 79-h(a), which includes any "professional medium or agency which has as one of its regular functions the processing and researching of news intended for dissemination to the public." However, where an organization does not engage in newsgathering with the intent to do so, it will not qualify for the privilege. Nat'l Med. Care, Inc. v. Home Medical of Am., Inc., No. 103030/02, 2002 WL 1461769 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. May 20, 2002) (referring matter to special referee to determine whether debt rating agency was a news organization under section 79-h); Am. Sav. Bank, FSB v. UBS Painewebber, Inc., No. M8-85, 2002 WL 31833223 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2002) (credit rating agency not entitled to protection of shield law).

    However, some federal courts in New York have applied the Shield Law more narrowly than state courts, holding in one instance, that the producer of a newsletter was not protected when the newsletter was circulated to only a "limited" audience, and the producer failed to establish that its "analysts" who compiled the newsletter were professional journalists. PPM America, Inc. v. Marriot Corp., 152 F.R.D. 32 (S.D.N.Y. 1993). Compare with Justice Diamond's ruling in Evans v. Schiff Publishing, Inc., No. 103562/02, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Sept. 9, 2002) (holding that the publisher/editor of an established insurance industry newsletter was protected by the Shield Law).

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  • North Carolina

    Any business entity that is regularly engaged in the business of publication or distribution of news via print, broadcast, or other electronic means accessible to the general public is a "news medium" under the shield law. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8-53.11(a)(3).

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  • North Dakota

    The statute does not define “news media” or other types of newsgathering, such as broadcasting, publishing, or newspapers.

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  • Ohio

    Ohio Revised Code § 2739.04 (broadcasters)

    No person engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by any noncommercial educational or commercial radio broadcasting station, or any noncommercial educational or commercial television broadcasting station, or network of such stations, for the purpose of gathering, procuring, compiling, editing, disseminating, publishing, or broadcasting news shall be required to disclose the source of any information procured or obtained by such person in the course of his employment, in any legal proceeding, trial, or investigation before any court, grand jury, petit jury, or any officer thereof, before the presiding officer of any tribunal, or his agent, or before any commission, department, division, or bureau of this state, or before any county or municipal body, officer, or committee thereof. . . .

    Ohio Revised Code § 2739.12 (newspapers)

    No person engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by any newspaper or any press association for the purpose of gathering, procuring, compiling, editing, disseminating, or publishing news shall be required to disclose the source of any information procured or obtained by such person in the course of his employment, in any legal proceeding, trial, or investigation before any court, grand jury, petit jury, or any officer thereof, before the presiding officer of any tribunal, or his agent, or before any commission, department, division, or bureau of this state, or before any county or municipal body, officer or committee thereof.

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  • Oklahoma

    The statute is limited to those persons “regularly engaged” in gathering and preparing news “for any newspaper, periodical, press association, newspaper syndicate, wire service, radio or television station, or other news service.”  None of these terms is defined in the statute.  The statute does not specifically mention the Internet, although it seems improbable that any person or entity “regularly engaged” in providing information services online would not fall within the term “news service.”

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  • Oregon

    ORS 44.520 protects anyone "connected with, employed by or engaged in any medium of communication to the public." ORS 44.510 gives "medium of communication" its ordinary meaning.

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  • Pennsylvania

    The Pennsylvania Shield Law applies to media organizations. See LAL v. CBS, Inc., 726 F.2d 97, 100 (3d Cir. 1984) (television station); Steaks Unlimited, Inc. v. Deaner, 623 F.2d 264, 278-79 (3d Cir. 1980) (television station); Davis v. Glanton, 705 A.2d 879 (Pa. Super. 1997) (newspaper). The Shield Law provides that its protections apply to radio or television stations only if those stations “maintain[] and keep[] open for inspection, for a period of at least one year from the date of the actual broadcast or telecast, an exact recording, transcription, kinescopic film or certified written transcript of the actual broadcast or telecast.” 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5942(b).

    In Pennsylvania, the First Amendment reporter’s privilege applies, at the very least, to members of the “news media,” including media organizations. United States v. Cuthbertson (Cuthbertson I), 630 F.2d 139, 142, 147 (3d Cir. 1980) (television station); cf. Davis v. Glanton, 705 A.2d 879, 881, 885 (Pa. Super. 1997) (newspaper filed motion to quash on behalf of its reporters).

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  • Rhode Island

    The statute specifically applies to "any person" who receives any confidential information in his or her capacity as a "reporter, editor, commentator, journalist, writer, correspondent, news photographer, or other person directly engaged in the gathering or presentation of news for any accredited newspaper, periodical, press association, newspaper syndicate, wire service, or radio or television station." R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-19.1-2. The Rhode Island Shield Law defines "newspaper" or "periodical" to mean one that is issued at regular intervals and has a paid circulation. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-19.1-1.

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  • South Carolina

    The South Carolina shield law has a comprehensive scope with respect to covered persons and entities. If the person or entity is engaged or has been engaged in the gathering or dissemination of news to the public through a newspaper, book, magazine, radio, television, news or wire service, or other medium, the qualified privilege applies.

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  • Tennessee

    The Tennessee shield law applies to any "person engaged in gathering information for publication or broadcast connected with or employed by the news media or press, or who is independently engaged in gathering information for publication or broadcast." Tenn. Code Ann. § 24-1-208(a). Neither the statute nor case law applying the statute expressly defines "news organization" or "media," but courts have generally considered that organizations that otherwise fall within the coverage of the statute fit within the meaning of "person."

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  • Texas

    “Bias and selectivity in reporting” does not determine applicability of the privilege.  Abraham v. Greer, 509 S.W.3d 609 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2016, pet. denied).  Rather, courts will rely solely on the definition in the statute.  Id.  The shield law defines “News Medium” as “a newspaper, magazine or periodical, book publisher, news agency, wire service, radio or television station or network, cable, satellite, or other transmission system or carrier or channel, or a channel or programming service for a station, network, system, or carrier, or an audio or audiovisual production company or Internet company or provider, or the parent, subsidiary, division, or affiliate of that entity, that disseminates news or information to the public by any means, including: (a) print; (b) television; (c) radio; (d) photographic; (e) mechanical; (f) electronic; and (g) other means, known or unknown, that are accessible to the public.” See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §22.021(3) and Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 38.11, §1(3).

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  • Utah

    The definition of “news reporter” under Rule 509 includes “any newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, press association or wire service, radio station, television station, satellite broadcast, cable system or other organization” with whom a person gathering news “for the primary purpose of disseminating [it] to the public” is connected. Id. 509(a)(1).

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  • Vermont

    A news organization or medium is included under the Vermont’s reporter’s privilege. See 12 V.S.A. § 1615(a).  This is consistent with case law prior to the Vermont Shield Law’s enactment.  See In re Inquest Subpoena (WCAX), 179 Vt. 12, 13-14, 890 A.2d 1240, 1241 (2005) (analyzing privilege where the State issued a subpoena to a television station for unaired video footage and the station asserted the privilege and moved to quash the subpoena).

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  • Virginia

    The case law does not define “media.”

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  • Washington

    The Washington Supreme Court has stated that the confidential source privilege extends to "organizations" that employ "working reporters." Senear, 97 Wn.2d at 157. The cases have not further refined any distinctions.

    Also see Section 5 of the shield statute, which defines the covered "news media." See RCW 5.68.010(5); see also Section IV.A (Statutory and case law definitions) above.

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  • West Virginia

    In West Virginia, the reporter's privilege does not distinguish between different types of media (i.e., newspaper, magazine, broadcast outlet, or Internet Web site). A news organization is covered by the Reporters’ Privilege statute, W.Va. Code § 57-3-10 and is entitled to the protections of the privilege in the confidential source context.  In regard to news gathering materials unrelated to a confidential source, the Hudok court cites to the Von Bulow case and its elaboration on the general criteria used to determine whether one is a member of the class entitled to claim the reporter's privilege.  See “Who is covered” above. This is the only guidance available in this area.

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  • Wisconsin

    The shield law provides protection only to a “news person,” which is defined as follows:

    (a)        Any business or organization that, by means of print, broadcast, photographic, mechanical, electronic, or other medium, disseminates on a regular and consistent basis news or information to the public, including a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical; book publisher; news agency; wire service; radio or television station or network; cable or satellite network, service, or carrier; or audio or audiovisual production company; and a parent, subsidiary, division, or affiliate of any of these businesses or organizations.

    (b)       Any person who is or has been engaged in gathering, receiving, preparing, or disseminating news or information to the public for an entity described in par. (a), including any person supervising or assisting the person in gathering, receiving, preparing, or disseminating such news or information.

    Wis. Stat. § 885.14(1).  This definition applies to media entities and to individuals engaged in newsgathering on behalf of such entities.

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  • Wyoming

    Not applicable.

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