Are Bloggers Journalists or Not?

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I was recently reading an interesting article;

The New York Times City Room Blog reports that that Rafael Martínez Alequin, Ralph E. Smith and David Wallis filed a federal lawsuit when each of them were denied credentials, even though all of them had such credentials in the past.

In the face of the lawsuit, the NYPD changed their minds and issued the three their press cards, anyway. This move gives other bloggers across the country hope for legitimacy in the eyes of government officials.

“This step recognizes that bloggers are 21st-century journalists,” Mr. Siegel, a noted civil liberties lawyer who has announced plans to run for public advocate next year, said in a phone interview. “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.”

But now that bloggers would seem to have some legitimate recognition as citizen journalists, the issue of responsibility and ethics comes into play. If we step into the shoes of journalists (or perhaps their sandals or slippers since we’re still not full blown professionals) shouldn’t we expect that our readers will place some reliance on our written word? Should this increase the need for bloggers to verify their sources, seek multiple sources for confirmation, and generally do more to raise the ethical standards (or even to create some more formal ethical standards) of our writing community.

Me, I’m going to REBar Camp Virginia in just a couple of minutes, so I’ll leave the question to you gentle reader. Is this a victory, a new set of obligations or both?

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