Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's In a Journalist?

Senate Bill Aims to Define Who Is a Journalist” was a headline from the Washington Post that immediately caught my eye. Dealing with the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, one of the biggest issues is just who is a journalist, or as the bill phrases, a “covered person.”

According to the bill a journalist or covered person is someone who:

...engages in journalism...that would cover those working for major news organizations as well as individuals putting out their own blogs or newsletters.

The Senate bill also included a list of who is not a covered person:

...an agent of a foreign power...anyone who is reasonably expected to possess, control, transmit or receive foreign intelligence information while such person is in the United States...anyone who, because of past actions, is excluded from participating in federal grants, aid or procurement or non-procurement activates.

This article was surprising to me in that the Senate bill actually accepts individuals that put out their own blogs. I would have thought that from a journalistic standpoint, bloggers would be looked at as being below news worthy and not included in forms of protection given by the laws for journalist. In today’s society where everyone seems to be blogging it is both a asset in that it is keeping up with the times but also a possible detriment in that anyone can publish a blog about anything, true or false.

No comments: