SDOG’s suit against inewsource and KPBS charged that the contract between them violated Gov. Code 1090 because Hearn was a decision maker for SDSU which owns KPBS and was also the principal of inewsource, an investigative reporting service that had run articles critical of SDOG’s principal.  Held, since the suit challenges news reporters in their role as such it falls under CCP 425.17(d)(1) and thus is not exempt from CCP 425.16 as a public interest suit under CCP 425.17(b).  SDOG’s argument that it was attacking Hearn’s influence as a decisionmaker not her newsgathering activity was characterized as attacking Hearn’s motives rather than her activities.  For the same reasons, the court holds that the complaint challenges protected news-gathering and reporting rather than non-protected contracting behavior.  SDOG failed to show it had a probability of success on the merits.  SDSU presented declarations stating that Hearn played no role in the contracting process on KPBS’ behalf.  SDOG presented no contrary evidence.

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Nares, J.); May 3, 2017; 2017 WL 1684295