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March 19, 2005

The Rocky Defends Bloggers

The Rocky Mountain News joins the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in editorializing in favor of journalistic protections for bloggers:

The problems here are self-evident. First, of course, is that companies could hang the "trade secret" label on almost any material they didn't want published, including, for example, internal memos detailing everything from product flaws to accounting fraud. The media's responsibility is to publish accurate information of broad public interest, not protect the business interests of private corporations.

Second is Kleinberg's suggestion that he is the best judge of what constitutes legitimate news. That is simply not true. In a free country, news is what consumers and journalists say it is.

The danger is the precedent, which is one reason why some states are contemplating expanding their shield laws to include bloggers. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have shield laws that give varying degrees of confidentiality to the sources, notes and other materials gathered in the course of work by journalists, as variously defined.

Unfortunately, Colorado's law appears to exclude Internet journalists. It defines "mass media" as "any publisher of a newspaper or periodical; wire service; radio or television station or network; news or feature syndicate; or cable television system." So the need for a tech-savvy update is acute, preferably before an Internet-related case lands in a Colorado court.


...An increasing number of blogs gather and report news - some of which appears in newspapers or on TV. The most successful enjoy audiences bigger than a large majority of newspapers. As such, they deserve no less protection than their colleagues in traditional media.

At least some newspapers seem to understand that not drawing a line can work both ways.

Posted by joshuasharf at March 19, 2005 07:35 PM | TrackBack

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