A state court judge has extended the protections of New Jersey's newspersons' Shield Law to independent bloggers, even those who crusade against perceived government corruption and mismanagement.
Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy on April 12 quashed a prosecutor's subpoena of Tina Renna, president of the Union County Watchdog Association, who posts frequently on a website called "The County Watchers."
"Under the governing case law, the fact that Ms. Renna's organization has an official stated purpose of being a citizen watchdog and an advocate for transparency in government, does not preclude this Court from finding that the County Watchers blog does not also have the alternate purpose of disseminating news," Cassidy wrote.
The judge noted the newsworthiness of Renna's original posts, her newsgathering methods and the frequency of her posts.
Renna also showed that her purpose was newsgathering and dissemination, Cassidy said.