Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Officially second-class journalists

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that they do not consider bloggers to be "mainstream journalists", and because of that designation they don't meet the requirements for that state's shield law which protects the identities of confidential sources:

"New Jersey's highest court says online message boards are little more than forums for discussion and don't fit the definition of news media as described by the law."

We will merely point out to those justices that most of the major national stories of the past decade have been broken by bloggers, with the mainstream media either playing belated catch-up (the current "Project Gunwalker" scandal involving the ATF and the Justice Department) or even actively working to prevent the information from becoming public knowledge (Newsweek originally discovering and then spiking the Monica Lewinsky story).  We ourselves have broken important stories on many occasions which made use of confidential sources and will continue to do so despite this asinine decision, which only serves to unfairly benefit large media outlets.

Besides, we have never been informed as to the correct government office to supplicate ourselves in order to apply for our shiny "Authorized Journalist" badge so that we can be all official-like "news media" and get such privileges.  Whoever gave the government the power to decide who is or isn't a journalist, anyway?  Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin were one-man pamphleteers; under this arbitrary ruling they would no doubt be considered merely pests and ordered to immediately give up their anti-Crown sources on pain of imprisonment.

1 comment:

Roxann said...

I didn't realize there is a legal definition of a journalist. Can one be prosecuted for impersonating a journalist? How does Wikileaks fit into their model? SO many question this raises for me....