Here’s a reminder for all our readers. We here at FHH do more than FCC work. Our team has expertise in a variety of other communications areas, from corporate governance to lobbying to intellectual property to . . . journalism law.
That last area, journalism, has been in the news recently, thanks to the case of Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Crystal Cox. That’s the case that triggered a lot of buzz when U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that Montana-based blogger Crystal Cox is not a “journalist” for purposes of the Oregon shield law. (Ms. Cox was being sued for defamation after writing unpleasant things about an Oregon financial firm.) The Internets were outraged. How dare some judge say that bloggers aren’t journalists? Just another case of some old guy wishing for the days of yesteryear, right?
Just ask our own Kevin M. Goldberg, legal counsel to the American Society of News Editors (the nation’s largest trade association for editors of daily news publications). As Kevin writes on the ASNE’s website (we can’t keep all of Kevin’s good writing to ourselves), the judge’s ruling is (a) largely misunderstood and (b ) in many respects, correct. For that reason – and for reasons related to where Judge Hernandez gets it wrong – the ire about Judge Hernandez’s ruling is misplaced and certainly overblown . . . especially since the case probably will be consigned to the dustbin of history sooner rather than later.
You can read Kevin’s analysis here.