Bloggers Erase Lines Between Traditional and New Media

    January 9, 2009
    WebProNews Staff

There’s little difference between a gadfly and a real journalist, and three New York City gadflies just proved there’s no difference between a blogger and a real journalist.

The New York Times’ City Room blog chronicles the victories of three local news bloggers who had been repeatedly denied press credentials by the NYPD because they worked online or for “nontraditional” news outlets.

Sometimes they were denied without explanation and without opportunity for appeal. The good news is you can’t keep a good blogger down. The trio were finally handed their credentials today after the NYPD backed down from a federal lawsuit.

Why are the police in charge of handing out press credentials? Part of the reason is one of the passes, a working press card, allows the holder to cross police tape to report on the scene. But, as the group’s lawyer notes, it might be time to change the status quo.

“This step recognizes that bloggers are 21st-century journalists,” Norman Siegel told the NYT. “It’s an important first step, but only a first step, because we still need to address the constitutional problem of who gets press credentials in New York City. The Police Department should not be in the business of determining who’s a journalist.”

While it does seem necessary and reasonable the police have some say in who gets to cross police lines, there shouldn’t be a distinction between journalists who write for blogs and those who write for newspapers, TV, or radio.