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LA Times: Bloggers Not Deserving of Journalistic Protection

LA Times: Bloggers Not Deserving of Journalistic Protection

by , 4:50 PM EST, March 29th, 2005

Bloggers aren't journalists, and in the cases involving Apple against Think Secret, PowerPage, AppleInsider, or any other online "blogger" publication, Apple should be able to get their sources, according to an editorial appearing in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times.

In his piece, reporter David Shaw took the position that shield laws were meant for experienced journalists following standard journalistic practices, with traditional editorial controls and filters. Accordingly, efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the part of PowerPage and AppleInsider to get the courts to extend California's shield law to those "blogger" sites are wrong.

He approached his opinion from well outside an Apple-centric perspective, and addressed the issue from the standpoint of the wider social and political ramifications of having a free press.

"Given the explosive growth of the blogosphere," he wrote, "some judge is bound to rule on the question one day soon, and when he does, I hope he says the nation's estimated 8 million bloggers are not entitled to the same constitutional protection as traditional journalists -- essentially newspaper, magazine, radio and television reporters and editors."

"There are other, even important differences between bloggers and mainstream journalists, perhaps the most significant being that bloggers pride themselves on being part of an unmediated medium, giving their readers unfiltered information. And therein lies the problem."

He went on to illustrate his thought process with real-world examples, and treated the subject with great depth. Mr. Shaw's opinion is one of a minority from mainstream journalism taking a stance against the online world on this, and as such offers an interesting perspective to those following this story.

Note that the LA Times requires a paid subscription.

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