Bloggers as journalist

Over the past year or so as Blogging has moved from fringe, techie tool to a mainstream media tool the question “Are BLOGGERS journalist?” has surfaced many times. In fact if you start Googling around you find a lot of references and opinions.

Did you know that there are “Shield-Laws” in thirty one of the states. Did you know that the US federal government does not currently have shield laws, but the senate has a bill proposing one.

Here is the problem I see with BLOGGERS as Journalist:

  • I propose for your consideration that private conversations in causal settings inherit an understood “privacy” clause. For instance, a friend of mine has made it known to me that he doesn’t want me to blog about him by referenced name or about his family. I think this is a fair example of most people — they would not want their private conversations or information blogged to the world. Our private relationships with each other are assumed private, unless otherwise arranged.
  • Most journalist are professionally trained. They know laws and regulations that affect the process of journalism. Additionally, they generally are supervised and follow a process for information gathering and dissemination.

Right now as I see it a BLOGGER IS NOT NECESSARILY A JOURNALIST. The Florida Shield Law defines a journalist as “a person regularly engaged in collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing news, for gain or livelihood, who obtained the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, a newspaper, news journal, news agency, press association, wire service, radio or television station, network, or newsmagazine. Book authors and others who are not professional journalists, as defined in this paragraph, are not included in the provisions of this section.”

Right now most bloggers would not be consider a journalist. I think over time as the blogging media matures, you’ll see the mainstream press accept blogging as a valid means of disseminating news. In fact, this year’s election saw CNN incorporate the bloggers into their coverage of the election. The question is how long will it take the courts to recognize the validity of the Blogger?

FOR ME, I’m going to keep private conversations private. Unless I specifically tell you in our conversations that I’m using your name or ask your permission to quote you, I will not do so in my blog. In other words, all my conversations are “off the record” unless otherwise stated.

Now, I will however use experiences in my blog and say things like “a close friend of mine” or “a person close to the situation” or “a person in the industry” when I reference information or knowledge from others in my blog entries.

You see, one advantage of the BLOG mirrors one advantage of the Internet — IT IS/can be ANONYMOUS. Finding and posting information on the Internet has no boundaries and has no requirements of registration. The Internet is what the American Founding Fathers dreamed of when they talked about Freedom of Information and Freedom of Speech.

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Filed under All Posts, Blogging, Journalism

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