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“This appears to me to be a pretty narrow ruling about posters to online message boards not being able to claim reporter’s privilege under the provisions of the New Jersey shield law,” Keith said. “We might want to watch for a blogger to cite that if he or she wanted to claim coverage under the shield law in a future case.”

Some questioned whether posting on a message board had any less journalistic value than a website or blog post.

“What makes journalism journalism is not the format but the content,” said Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that takes on cyberspace civil liberties issues.

“Where news is gathered for dissemination to the public, it is journalism _ regardless of whether it is printed on paper or distributed through the Internet.”

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Associated Press writer Wayne Parry contributed to this report.