Lisa and Jim's Northern Nevada Real Estate Blog: Do Bloggers have to give up their sources?

Do Bloggers have to give up their sources?

This is a very interesting question!  I will be most interested to hear the outcome and hope you keep us posted!  In the mean time ... great job!  Thanks for sharing this intriguing information!

Interesting perspective ... enjoy this blog fromWayne and Jean Marie Zuhl from Clark, NJ

Are bloggers given the same protective rights as journalists?

Of course, the shield laws that protect journalists' sources are critical to providing news. Without this protection, journalists would find it nearly impossible to find credible and publishable information. But do these laws apply to bloggers? If a blogger has an unnamed source for a blog post, is that blogger legally required to give up the name of the source if law enforcement requests?

This is the question being decided in a Union County Courthouse. Tina Renna is a write for   The blog and often writes posts criticizing Union County officials. In December, she wrote a blog post saying that she knew the names of 16 County employees who illegally (not to mention unethically) used county-owned generators after Hurricane Sandy.

Theodore Romankow of the Union County Prosecutor's Office served her with a subpoena requesting the names of these 16 County employees to investigate the claims but Renna refused. She claims that the shield law protects her as a journalist and that she has no obligation to reveal her sources.

Romankow says she's impeding an ongoing investigation into improper use of generators and has insisted he doesn't want Renna's sources but only the 16 names she claims she has. Renna says that revealing the names will possibly reveal her source and has refused, citing shield laws to protect her.

The Prosecutors Office says that blogs aren't "news media" and therefore not protected by shield laws. Since Renna's posts aren't objective, they aren't considered journalism and therefore not protected.

Should Renna be forced to give up her names, therefore losing not only this source but all future sources who will no longer trust her? Since Renna has been a political watchdog of sorts, collecting information on Union County government and calling them to task publicly, should she have the same rights as a reporter to protect those sources? Does forcing her to give up the names become a gag order of sorts - crippling her ability to publish information on the government? Should government watchdogs be protected?

Very intense discussions in Union County courthouses this week. I, for one, will be watching....

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~ Wayne & Jean 

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Comment balloon 2 commentsLisa Wetzel • February 02 2013 06:18AM


Good question and I too will be checking back to see what other say and think.  I think I'll go find the disclaimer statement and put it on the bottom of my blogs just in case!

Posted by Rosemary Brooks, The Mother & Daughter Realty Team (BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the reblog, Lisa - we'll definitely be posting an update as soon as  a judgement is rendered!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 7 years ago