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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 28, 2010 10:19 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tall-tale touring. The next post in this blog is One of the best. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"New media" vs."news media"

This recent court ruling is causing a bit of a stir. It seems that the web author in question was neither established enough nor reporting enough news to be considered "news media" for purposes of a state law shielding journalists' sources.

Any blogger reading that story has got to be thinking, "What about me?" The blog that's currently before you reports a fair amount of news, and gets a goodly number of readers every day. Do you think we would make the cut?

The decision is also interesting in that it discusses the breadth of California's shield law, which has potential application to the current Gizmodo iPhone flap.

Comments (10)

Didn't TorridJoe get all bent out of shape when he tried to get into a Lake Oswego closed door meeting as a journalist because of his blog?

Wait long enough and you might have something else in common with him.

Asking the question "Are bloggers journalists?" is the wrong question. It's like asking "Are newsprintusers journalists?"

A blog is a medium; like newsprint. Some people use newsprint to make newspapers. Other people use it to make phone books, or campaign flyers, or Chinese restaurant menus, or whatever.

Jeff Mapes uses a blog. He's a journalist. Other people use blogs to post baby pictures. They're not journalists.

The question of whether a particular person is committing acts of journalism should be entirely separate from whatever medium they use to publish their words.

No one should question whether Chen is a journalist. Yes he is.

The fact is he was in receipt of stolen property (displayed in the Gizmodo video), therefore the criminal investigation and the search of his home and belongings. If he still had the iPhone in his possession, would there be any doubt of the validity of the search? California law's pretty clear about who owned that phone.

Walter, CA courts have already decided bloggers are news people. That law says as a news person a subpoena should of been issued instead of a search warrant. That's the difference in Gizmodo's case, I have a feeling the state is going to be backpedaling fast.

The fact is he was in receipt of stolen property (displayed in the Gizmodo video), therefore the criminal investigation and the search of his home and belongings. If he still had the iPhone in his possession, would there be any doubt of the validity of the search? California law's pretty clear about who owned that phone.

So, if you left your phone in a bar, then someone picked it up and sold it to Chen...

Do you think his home would have been invaded like that? Hell, I couldnt even get the cops to show up when my car was broken into and the stereo was stolen.

This happened because Apple has friends in high places.

"The question of whether a particular person is committing acts of journalism should be entirely separate"

In typical B-O fashion, that really doesn't answer anything. We're back to what is journalism.

Darrin, I'm no lawyer. That said, first- this is a BIG deal because Apple IS a billion(s) dollar company who protects its' trade secrets (the phone) like any other similar company. The disclosure of Apple's trade secrets and the potential damages are, to say the least, enormous. This wasn't just any cell phone.

Jon, I'm unconvinced. "That law says as a news person a subpoena should of been issued instead of a search warrant."

Does this apply to criminal investigations, unrelated to the disclosure of sources, and focused on the actual theft of property? If so, could I rob a bank, then claim "shield" protection, wait for the subpoena, in the meanwhile, pass the booty off and then open my door for a post subpoena search?

I'd imagine that the issue will be decided on the basis of the CA law that requires the lost iPhone to have been returned to the owner. Finders, keepers - Losers,weepers is not the law in CA.

"what is journalism" is a red herring--and it's the entire defense of Gawker Media. Who, by the way, has repeatedly claimed that its primary aim is *not* to be "journalists".

In other words, Gawker wants it to be all about some specious "freedom of the press" issue. Apple invested millions in its products, and sells the result. The guy who found (and sold) the phone to Gizmodo, and Gizmodo itself, *both knew it was an unreleased product of Apple and broke the law*. That's why the guy shopped it, sold it to Gizmodo--and why Gizmodo paid so much for it. They expected to profit from it.

And Gizmodo has publicly offered rewards for corporate trade secrets before, especially those of Apple. It intends to profit off of them, and give the law the finger while doing it. If you think the law protects anything done in this sordid affair (like, say, publishing the private information of the guy who lost it), you're missing the point entirely.

That last comment is correct. Gawker wants to turn this into a big story about 'The shield law doesn't apply to bloggers!'. Right. There's zero chance that Gizmodo or any employees won't fall under the shield law as journalists.

What I haven't heard conclusively is whether or not the shield law applies if one of the parties (either Gizmodo or the phone seller) is suspected of committing a crime. I've heard differing takes on this from the media outlets.

If it doesn't apply, I suspect Gawker is screwed. It's tough to center your defense around the claim you didn't know it was Apple's phone when you've published a story headlined 'This is Apple's next iPhone'.


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