In a world where journalism is in the danger of turning into a hobby, isn't it ironic that the US looks set to get a shield law that excludes non-salaried journalists from protection?
I've been following the slow progress of this potential new law for some time now, and I'm struck by how at odds its definition of who should be allowed to protect their sources is with the changing media landscape. I've previously bemoaned that it will offer no protection for the Dr Stockmanns of this world, but with the very nature of journalism and who committs valuable acts of journalism so much in flux, limiting the scope of this law to only protect salaried journalists seems very strange.
For one, bloggers, and outfits like Huffington Post, are increasingly providing valuable journalism, analysis and even investigations. Come to think of it, that has already been the case for years now, and I recently concluded in an article on blogging the crash (for a new book on the financial crash and the crisis in journalism) that some bloggers even covered the events leading up to the credit crisis better than traditional media.
This blog post over at Mediashift provides a good argument for why bloggers and citizen journalists deserve a shield law. But with the gloomy state of media finances these days, some are even predicting a future where (freelance) journalists will be forced to work for free. I'm not quite that pessimistic, but there is an uncomfortable grain of thruth or two in Charlie Beckett's post on Celibates, Priests or Toffs? The Future of Freelance.