Monday, March 07, 2005

At a suit's core: Are bloggers reporters too?


[excerpted from New York Times...]

"In the physical world, being labeled a journalist may confer little prestige and may even evoke some contempt. But being a journalist can also confer certain privileges, like the right to keep sources confidential. And for that reason many bloggers, a scrappy legion of online commentators and pundits, would like to be considered reporters, too. "

"A lawsuit filed in California by Apple Computer is drawing the courts into that question: who should be considered a journalist? "

[continue at New York Times] Given that a dozen bloggers were credentialed at the recent CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington, D.C., and they actively reported worldwide to a sizable (and growing) audience, it would seem foolhardy for a judge to try to distinguish between 'labels'. Even individuals, as 'whistleblowers', accrue certain specially-recognized rights under law. The test should clearly be one of 'function over form'. If a blogger reports, he or she is a reporter. Whether they editorialized yesterday about recipes or sports is virtually irrelevant. Sources need to be reasonably protected.

If you publish news, events, opinions online, you should be protected by the constitution's first amendment... freedom of the press. It's a basic American right that transcends publishing methodologies.

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