"If you want a court to let you out of testifying because you’re doing the work of a journalist, then you should have to actually do that work."
This wonderful video from The Guardian UK should be a lesson to media companies and especially dead tree publishing concerns on the ways to successfully integrate various publishing platforms to report a news story.
The Many Voices of The New York Times at #OccupyWallStreet. [Village Voice]
The Voice points to the New York Times stories on #occupywallstreet, in which the lede is changed to favor first the demonstrators and then the police. The Times explains that when a story is unfolding, everything is subject to change. And this is true. As a journalist in Boston, I covered unfolding stories ”on edition” which means writing continuous updates for each edition of the paper (there were three and sometimes four per day.) and it’s true that what was true at 6 p.m. is proven wrong by 8 p.m. When I couldn’t run back to the newsroom to file, I would dictate my notes to a ”rewrite man” who would more often than not, put his own particular spin on it. Examining the two stories closely, that could be what happened here. Multiple bylines add multiple perspectives.
However, all that to the contrary notwithstanding (as an old editor of mine was fond of saying) in a highly charged political protest, shouldn’t the copydesk have been more careful in its choice of words? Was it a tense showdown or a chaotic showdown? Were the police overrun by protesters on the bridge or did they allow protesters on the bridge? Perhaps at a newspaper known worldwide for its careful choice of words, a vigilant copychief could have worked a bit harder at getting to the truth of this story — and if the truth can’t be determined, perhaps that should have been reported as well.
Commenters are not Journalists [Supreme Court of New Jersey]
Too Much Media, LLC, et al. v. Shellee Hale (A-7-10)(066074)
At issue is the question of whether a self-described journalist posting comments on a message board was entitled to the New Jersey Shield Law protections. The Court held that she is not. “Although New Jersey’s Shield Law allows news reporters to protect the confidentiality of sources and information gathered through their work, online message boards are not similar to the types of news entities listed in the statute; therefore, defendant Shellee Hale was not entitled to claim the privilege in this defamation case that is grounded in comments she posted on an Internet message board.”
The Court also says that perhaps it is time to examine what it means to be a journalist in the digital age:
"The Legislature is free to expand the [Shield Law’s] coverage as a matter of policy. In an era of ever-changing technology, with new and rapidly evolving ways of communicating, the Legislature may choose to reconsider who is a newsperson and add new criteria to the Shield Law. We are not foreclosing that discussion today; we are simply interpreting an existing and far-reaching statute. "
Does Posting Things to Twitter Make You a Journalist? [GigaOm]
Maybe. Maybe not.
Andy Carvin calls it a "Random Act of Journalism." Others draw a line between “real journalists” with a huge news organization and some training behind them and bloggers who “just try to capture an event.” But really — and from a legal standpoint going forward — there has to be an agreement on how much those not employed by Big Media — can be claim protections afforded to “traditional jounalists” when they are essentially doing the same work of capturing and recording events as they happen.