I’ve been following the story of Crystal Cox, the “Oregon Blogger” who destroyed Obsidian Financial Group and has just been slapped with a $2.5 million judgment. Oregon courts ruled that under the state’s laws, Cox is not a journalist.
For those of you not familiar with the story, Obsidian Financial Group appointed a Chapter 11 trustee for a, now belly-up business. The trustee is Kevin Padrick and the business was a Ponzi one, deflated in 2007 from, what else, misappropriated funds being recycled.
There is an interesting write up in the Seattle Weekly that highlights the reason for the lawsuit and gives some brief background information.
Having followed the Crystal Cox story, I know there is more than meets the eye. She set up hoards of websites where she criticized Obsidian Financial and Padrick–just do a Google search! She also, according to the Seattle Weekly article, refused to name her source of information, therefore, being unable to prove her writing was that of fact rather than fiction.
I’ve never considered myself a journalist. That was a career I coveted out of high school and one that required a college degree in Communications. I might classify myself as a freelance writer. To be honest, I’m really okay with just being a Mommy Blogger. Either way, what does this ruling say about blogging and its risks?
Forbes said it best when they wrote: “Yes, bloggers are journalists. But just because you have a blog doesn’t mean that what you do is journalism.”
The Ninth Circuit ruled as such on Friday in Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox, a complicated case first decided in 2011. The court found that even though someone might not write for the “institutional press,” they’re entitled to all the protections the Constitution grants journalists.
What are your thoughts? Are bloggers journalists? Do we need laws to govern bloggers?