In light of the following article, I have decided to classify myself as an Internet Information Journalist, a person who shares current events, whether political, religious, or social. These articles that I write are intended to educate and/or encourage my readers about various topics of interest. My First Amendment right guarantees me this freedom of expression.
Whether bloggers count as journalists has mostly been a matter of esoterics for reporter types. But as Congress weighs a media shield law in response to the Associated Press/Justice Department subpoena scandal, the question is gaining an urgency that lawmakers are finding hard to ignore as they turn to writing the bill.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took on the issue—and stumbled.
“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves,” he said. “Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”
The verbal slipup aside (of course bloggers are covered under the Bill of Rights!), Graham’s riffing on constitutional law exposes one of the age-old tensions between journalism as a product and journalism as an activity. What Graham really meant to ask was whether bloggers deserve the specific protections of the First Amendment that are granted to the press. And in fact, along with his colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Graham has been an ardent proponent of a media shield law in recent weeks. But as the line between blogger and journalist has blurred, a far more relevant challenge is figuring out whether those protections apply to the behavior of finding and passing on (sometimes secret) information, or if they apply only to people with little plastic ID badges to prove their affiliation.
I am a writer, a reporter of currents event issues that are of concern to my friends and family. To me, a blogger is someone that posts nonsensical verbiage that benefits no one except the composer of the blog. To them, it serves as an outlet for emotional stress and/or irritation. The ‘it’s all about me’ bloggers have the protection of the First Amendment also!
Freedom of the Press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as prohibiting the government from interfering with the printing and distribution of information or opinions, although freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions, such as defamation law and copyright law.
In Lovell v. City of Griffin, Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” This includes everything from newspapers to blogs.