We get used to threats of court action from companies too bitter to take an opinion; but this case has certainly sent a scary message out to us and the rest of the blogosphere. A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a blogger to pay the sum of $2.5 million to an investment firm she was writing about, because in the eyes of the law she isn't a real journalist.
Bloggers never look attractive like the lifestyle shot we got for this (above).
Crystal Cox - owner of several blogs, received this ruling from Judge Marco A. Hernandez because she wasn't “affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system,” meaning she didn't have the same protection journalists are entitled to.
The Obsidian Finance Group had originally sued her for $10 million for several blog posts that use defamatory, critical language against their company and its co-founder Kevin padrick. Most of these blog posts were thrown out of the court as quickly as they arrived, except for one (which you can read here). This post was more factual in content in comparison to other posts, which Cox said was because information was being gathered from an inside source, who she refused to break anonymity of.
Without these tip-offs having a credited source, there was no way for the Judge to determine their authenticity, which made Cox void of Oregon's Media Shield Law. This being because she wasn't employed by a media establishment, establishing her as a blogger and not a journalist...which as you can tell from the title is a pretty pricey definition of a person.
It's a pretty frightening back track to the question: can bloggers journalists?
Source: The Guardian
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.