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October 2011

Articles & Reports – Model Shield Law Task Force – Resource Materials for Defining “Journalist” and “Media” in Litigation and Legislation

in this issue

“Newspapers of General Circulation” for Legal Notice Advertising

By Drew E. Shenkman* INTRODUCTION Taking a page from advertising context, litigators helping judges struggle to define “journalists” in the digital age may find guidance in the work of courts and legislatures that, for generations, have established criteria to qualify newspapers to deliver legal notice advertising to the public.[1]  Print publications commonly referred to as…

Definition of a “Journalist,” “Media” or “News” in Defamation Cases Against Credit Rating Agencies and Financial Newsletters

By Laura R. Handman, Rory Eastburg and Adam Shoemaker* INTRODUCTION Credit rating agencies have been the focus of a large number of cases examining whether the First Amendment will tolerate any distinction between media and non-media speakers.  The nature of credit reporting, in which an agency collects and publishes information for a specific group of…

“Media Defendant” for Purposes of Defamation Law

By Christine N. Walz* INTRODUCTION A number of states distinguish between “media” and “non-media” defendants in determining the applicable standard of fault that a plaintiff must show to recover in a defamation case.  In making this distinction, some courts have adapted their definitions to accommodate the changing face of the media technology and content, while…

Definition of a “Journalist,” “Media” or “News” Under Right of Publicity and Misappropriation Torts

By Laura R. Handman, Rory Eastburg and Micah J. Ratner* INTRODUCTION In right of publicity and misappropriation cases, the definitions of “journalist,” “media,” and “news” can trigger the actual malice standard, help distinguish between editorial and commercial content, and assist in applying the newsworthiness and incidental use exceptions.  Courts have applied these definitions broadly to…

Defining “Journalist” in the Context of Common Law and Statutory Reporter’s Privilege Protections

By Katie Hirce* and Kurt Wimmer** INTRODUCTION The United States Supreme Court foreshadowed the challenges of defining “journalist,” for purposes of application of the journalists’ privilege, in Branzburg v. Hayes, where it observed: The administration of a constitutional newsman’s privilege would present practical and conceptual difficulties of a high order. Sooner or later, it would…

Resource Materials for Defining “Journalist” and “Media” in Litigation and Legislation

Prepared by the Model Shield Law Task Force, October 2011 ContributorsCharles D. Tobin (Chair), Holland & Knight LLP, Washington, D.C.Rory Eastburg, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington, D.C.Laura R. Handman, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington, D.C.Katie Hirce, McCusker, Anselmi, Rosen & Carvelli, Florham Park, N.J.       Micah J. Ratner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington, DC.Drew E….