Are Bloggers Journalists?

Interesting question from an MIT blog.

Apple says no; the Electronic Frontier Foundation says yes.

In November,
Mac blogs AppleInsider and PowerPage
posted information about a product code-named “Asteroid,“
designed to let musicians plug their analog gear into a Mac, and supposedly
to-be-announced at this week’s Macworld Conference.

Unhappy as always
about the leak, Apple filed suit in a California court against 20 unnamed–and
unknown–defendants for releasing company secrets and obtained a court order to
subpoena AppleInsider and PowerPage
for the names of those who allegedly leaked information about Asteroid.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing the
blog publishers, asserting that they have the same right to anonymous sources
that traditional journalists do.

The heart of the matter is whether
bloggers can reasonably be considered journalists and so deserve First Amendment
protection. It’s a huge question mark, and one that has lawyers and journalists
hopping.

What about confidential sources around crimes and corruption? "Journalists" have traditionally had considerable legal protection of sources. But just because someone writes for a newspaper, magazine or TV show can’t be the basis of such legal protections. The medium is not relevant. Indeed, this begs the question: What is a journalist?

No wonder traditional media people are freaking-out.

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