Senate Says Amateur Journalists Don't Deserve Shield Protection

from the and-why-not? dept

Congress has been working on a federal "shield" law that that allows journalists to protect their sources. This is an important concept, and many states already have local laws on that front. Unfortunately, as the Senate was working on its version of the bill, it's apparently decided that the law should only apply to professional journalists who make their living that way. If you happen to just write a blog post that exposes some sort of wrong, you'll have no shield protections. Or if you write for a participatory media site and blow a whistle, again, you'll have no shield protection for your sources. While not all that surprising (do you really think our Senators understand the value of participatory journalism), it's still disappointing.

Filed Under: amateur, journalists, professional, senate, shield law

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2009 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Makes sense.

    In other words it's not that blogs parasite off of mainstream media. Blogs are perfectly capable of reporting news on their own without the help of mainstream media and they are perfectly capable of investigating without the help of mainstream media as we have shown many times here. In fact, as we have shown, many times mainstream media parasites off of blogs and they don't give credit (they even have a policy not to give credit) and blogs spend considerable time correcting mainstream media's mistakes. It's that what you want are laws that give mainstream media an unfair level playing field to force people to report their news to mainstream media so that mainstream media can hold the intellectual property on it. Then you have the excuse that blogs parasite off of mainstream media when in fact mainstream media is not even needed, people can just blog about their stories or give their stories to unanonymous bloggers to blog about while keeping the person who bloged anonymous. In such a way a blog can maintain itself without parasiting off of mainstream media. But what you want is to restrict the ability for blogs to report on issues and then you want mainstream media to hold the intellectual property on all reporting so you can complain about the parasitic nature of blogs when they have no choice but to copy mainstream media (because you have restricted their ability to report on issues themselves) and in fact it's not that blogs need to parasite off of mainstream media, it's that the laws you put in place have forced them to under false pretexts. If blogs are perfectly capable of reporting on issue without mainstream media why should people be forced to have their reported news become the intellectual property of mainstream media? That's nonsense and it's exactly why you want mainstream media to have an unlevel playing field. Why should people be forced to go to mainstream media to break their story? Why should those that do break their stories at mainstream media sources not go to blogs (well, mainstream media does have a government granted unlevel playing field where the government grants monopolies over the infrastructure and airwaves so they have more access to the public but they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DESERVE that, they stole it through their lobbying efforts which is only less reason to use them due to their unethical practices)? Or why would someone choose one mainstream media source over another? Perhaps preference. Likewise, people should be able to choose a non mainstream media source, like techdirt or any other blog, that won't turn their news story into intellectual property.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.