Friday, February 25, 2005

Am I a Journalist?

Of course not. But according to Trish Wilson's blog, a new law, with bipartisan support, could deputize me into the fourth estate. Or at least that's what some seem to think. Commenters to Kevin Drum's blog seem to think that this would be the logical result of the bill. Don't believe me? Read for yourself.

[Lee Corso]Not so fast, my friends![/Lee Corso]


Look, all this law does is try to prevent an agency from preventing a blogger who is a legitimate media member from the same agency access that a person who writes for a more established institution might have. Under the act, an agency cannot deny media status to an applicant merely because the applicant has no institutional affiliation. That makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of people out there that are not affiliated with traditional media institutions, but probably fit within what ought to be a reasonably broad definition of "media."

On the other hand, the agency would probably be reasonable in denying me media credentials. Why? Because, after considering my "prior publication history," which amounts to a couple of law review articles and an article in the Georgia Bar Environmental Law Section's newsletter, they would be well within their rights to decide I'm not a member of the media. To wit:

In making a determination of a representative of the news media under subclause (II), an agency may not deny that status solely on the basis of the absence of institutional associations of the requester, but shall consider the prior publication history of the requester. Prior publication history shall include books, magazine and newspaper articles, newsletters, television and radio broadcasts, and Internet publications.
To bastardize a wonderful Seinfeld quote, "you may write blog entries, Jerry Seinfeld, but you are no journalist."

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