Beijing Chaoyang District Court ordered the local China Times to pay the 19-year-old woman 20,000 yuan (2,500 US dollars) and issue an apology on its front page for a report published last December.
The report carried three photos of the woman and the story of her sufferings after her parents, who contracted AIDS after selling blood, died earlier this decade.
The reporter, identified by his family name, Hu was accused of violating the young woman's privacy and damaging her reputation as the photos clearly revealed her face and carried her real name.
Although the daily was not the first to report the woman's story, Hu never interviewed the young woman and he bought her photos from a website.
His story was scalped from other news reports and the woman's own anonymous writings on the Internet.
His later insistence that he had done nothing improper outraged Jin Wei, an AIDS activist who supported the woman's education.
After her identity was revealed the young woman's grades dropped sharply and she lost confidence in herself, Jin was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.