Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Who's a journo? New proposal aims to exclude bloggers...again

I've been covering the issue of press credentials for bloggers for some time now, and this time, the "no" vote is coming from none other than California Senator Dianne Feinstein. She wants to specifically omit citizen journalists and bloggers from protection under a federal shield law, and in the process, to define who can be considered a journalist.

Her real social medium of concern is WikiLeaks, but her fellow committee member Senator Dick Durbin also has been inquiring about "the legitimacy of nonprofit investigative reporters," Popular Resistance reports.

The federal version of a shield law is an important protection. Ironically, it is supposed to help ensure that many voices can be heard on difficult issues, and yet here, the government is seeking to tell us who belongs in a free press and who does not. Hmmm. Whatever your views are on the issue, this is an important case to keep in your sights if you handle media relations and blogger outreach.

And if you are a reporter, blogger, news photographer or citizen journalist, take note: Nieman Lab is conducting a survey about press credentials, to "develop a nationwide overview of credentialing practices over the last five years, in order to identify emerging norms and systemic issues in how credentials are used by government entities and private organizations to control newsgathering activity." Please take the survey if you're a news-gatherer, and stay tuned for the results if you're an issuer of credentials.

Go here to see all my posts on the issue of press credentials for bloggers to get a sense of how this issue has been progressing over time. Considering that courts at the state level and even, on occasion, the Supreme Court of the United States have credentialed bloggers, you'd think those precedents might carry some weight. I'll keep you posted as this amendment progresses.

(Photo from Brett L.'s photostream on Flickr.)

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