Does blogger equal journalist?


SAN FRANCISCO - After 226 days in federal prison, video blogger Josh Wolf, confined for refusing to turn over evidence, was released on April 3, 2007.

Wolf, who ran the blog "The Revolution Will Be Televised," was subpoenaed by the Federal court to turn over all tapes he had of an anti-G8 protest -- held in San Francisco July 8, 2005 - which may have contained footage to be used in cases against some of the protestors. Wolf said it was against his 1st Amendment rights, which protects journalists from having to divulge their sources, and was held in contempt of court.

While it is true a journalist is protected under Constitutional law, the argument being made was that Wolf was not actually a true journalist, and therefore was not protected by those laws. While Wolf may not publish under a "credible" source, and he even lacks a degree in Journalism, there are those who would argue he is, indeed, a journalist.

In 2006 the Society of Professional Journalists, an organization that has represented journalism for over one hundred years, awarded Wolf with a Journalist of the Year award. So, not only did they see him as a journalist, but a stellar example of one. However, not everyone agrees with the SPJ.

There are many critics of Wolf, such as columnist Debra Saunders, who believe he is no more a journalist than any person with a camera is. These people would argue that journalists need to provided unbiased information, something one individual with a website is unable to do. Wolf would disagree.

In an interview with Frontline, Wolf claimed he believes professional news sources, such as Fox, tend to be just as biased as he is. He is just "much more up front" about his biases. The question is, does that make him a journalist, or does it simply call into question the journalistic integrity of the professional news media?

Of course, after his release from prison, Wolf managed to secure a reporting position with the Palo Alto Daily Post, so if he wasn't a journalist before, he is now.

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This page contains a single entry by Jour 2101 published on November 21, 2010 1:42 PM.

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