Whale Oil blogger considers himself a journalist

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 17:12 31/03/2014
Cameron Slater
Fairfax NZ
WHALE OIL: Blogger Cameron Slater

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Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, whose website broke the Len Brown affair story, says he has changed his ways and now considers himself a journalist.

A High Court judge says it "seems likely" Slater does publish news, but the question remains whether this was the case two years ago.

In a decision released today, the judge granted Slater the right to appeal a District Court decision that found his website was not part of the media.

Slater was being sued by businessman Matthew Blomfield for defamation relating to 2012 blog entries.

The blogger had been ordered to hand over his sources, but Slater argued he had the same rights as journalists to protect their sources.

Slater last week argued in the High Court at Auckland for his appeal to be heard.

Slater told the court his blog had become a news media site and he now considered himself a reporter.

The changes followed his convictions for breaking court-ordered name suppressions in 2010.

"I learnt a very valuable lesson," he said.

Slater was also in discussions with the Press Council to become a member of the media watchdog.

However, Blomfield said although Slater could be considered a journalist now, it was a different story two years ago.

Blomfield said Slater carried out a "bombardment of harassment" against him in 2012.

In the High Court ruling, Justice Raynor Asher said the role of bloggers as news reporters was a topical issue of public importance.

"It seems likely that [Slater] now does indeed publish news items, as Mr Blomfield appeared to concede in submissions," Justice Asher said.

"Whether he was doing so in 2012 may well be a contentious issue."

The appeal case was due to be heard in the High Court in Auckland on Thursday.

Slater and Blomfield were representing themselves in court.

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