Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bloggers Rights?.................


Recently, the New York Times had the following article about blogs, At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?, where the author Jonathan Glater discusses whether or not blogs should be allowed "journalistic privileges"-mainly the right to keep ones sources confidential.

I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but as far as I know there isn't a "license" for journalists, nor judging by some of the drivel I read in various newspapers like the Tennessean, is there even a general standard. I'm aware that people spend years studying journalism in school, and pay countless dues hustling a beat for stories. I'm aware that journalism is a technical skill in the sense that you have to know how to write stories that make sense. But when one becomes a doctor or a lawyer, you must pass tests that grant you a license to practice these skills. There is no such equivalent for journalists. Not only this, but there are people who have gone on to successful careers in journalism without having a degree in journalism- they were just good writers. That's all that should matter.

So knowing this, how can anyone say that one person is a journalist because they write in a newspaper, and myself, who writes articles on my blog is not? I average around 40 regular readers a day-why should the guy who writes the tabloid section of the Tennessean get privileges that I don't? Because it's written on paper?

In the article from above, Susan Crawford, a law professor at Cardozo law school of Yeshiva University (and a blogger herself) agrees-(from the article)-

"Under what circumstances should an online forum be forced to disclose a source behind information that they're posting?" Ms. Crawford said. "There is no principled distinction between a New York Times reporter and a blogger for these purposes. Both operate as news sources for wide swaths of the general public."

All of this tells me that those in the media who believe that they live in some exclusive universe where they are the all-seeing purveyors of truth and information are in for an enormous wakeup call. And for some of them, like the former head of CNN Eason Jordan, or the shamed Dan Rather from CBS, this wake up call cost them their jobs.

Isn't free speech awesome?

I think so too. Get used to it Major Media, we aren't going anywhere. And that privilege crap has zero legal precedent. Sooner or later media sources will stop trying to desperately run away from this new source of information and learn to embrace it. The ones that don't will end up the way of the 8-track and Vinyl. The ones that do will remain on the cutting edge.

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