In a case that’s sending a frightening message to the blogger community, a US District Court judge ruled that a blogger must pay $US2.5 million ($2.45m) to an investment firm she wrote about — because she isn’t a real journalist.
As reported by Seattle Weekly, Judge Marco A. Hernandez said Crystal Cox, who runs several blogs, wasn’t entitled to the protections afforded to journalists — specifically, Oregon’s media shield law for sources — 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”.
The Obsidian Finance Group sued Cox in January for $US10 million for writing several blog posts critical of the company and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick. Obsidian argued that the writing was defamatory. Cox represented herself in court.
The judge threw out all but one of the blog posts cited, focusing on just one (this one), which was more factual in tone than the rest of her writing. Cox said that was because she was being fed information from an inside source, whom she refused to name.