Are bloggers journalists?

Are bloggers journalists? If you’re a blogger and you engage in journalism in your blog, then you’re a journalist. This is how, at least, it is seen with this bill introduced by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The Free Flow of Information Act protects journalists from divulging their sources for news stories except in cases where there is imminent harm to national security, imminent death or significant bodily harm involved, a trade secret of significant value in violation of State or Federal law, individually identifiable health information, and in instances where nondisclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

In defining journalism broadly, the bill states: “The act would apply to web logs (‘blogs’) that engage in journalism.” It also clarifies that journalism refers to the tasks of “gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.”

If this bill passes with breeze (which is doubtful), then we may not see another Josh Wolf again.


  1. says

    I used to be a journalist – I blogged about our turtle-related projects and functions and fund-raising events. Until my Supervisor asked me not to (because she wanted to retain whatever rights that belonged to her).

    But the journalist in me is still looking for opportunities… Looking.. :)

  2. says

    Does the broad wording of this Bill apply to foreign bloggers as well ?

    If so, does that mean that foreign tourists or business people will no longer be able to legally visit the USA under the Visa Waiver scheme, if they also happen to be bloggers ?

    Will foreign bloggers be forced to go through the same expensive and intrusive bureaucratic red tape in order to get a Journalist Visa, a process which contributes significantly to the bad press which the USA gets internationally, by pissing off journalists etc. even before they have a chance to start their reports from the USA. e.g.,12271,1231089,00.html

  3. says

    I know a lot of bloggers eschew the journalist label. But that definition of journalism sure sounds a lot like many blogs I see. It also jibes with my understanding of what journalism is. And this protection is a good thing.
    Bloggers, embrace your inherent journalist-ness.


  1. […] The Blog Herald: Are bloggers journalists? “Are bloggers journalists? If you’re a blogger and you engage in journalism in your blog, then you’re a journalist.” … According to the Free Flow of Information Bill in the United States. (tags: journalism bloggers law shield_law) […]