This is a question that comes up frequently in my life, from both ends of the issue. If I’m covering a topic in one of my blogs and request information from a company or organization, should they treat me the same as they would a Houston Chronicle reporter? At the same time, if a photoblogger calls my office wanting to set up a shoot of one of my clients’ buildings, would I give him or her the same consideration as… say, a photographer from 002+ Magazine?
This story, FEC Hears Bloggers’ Bid to Share Media Exemption, shows how the law is trying to differentiate and decide who is covered by which laws.
A growing number of the online pundits of various political persuasions are urging the Federal Election Commission to explicitly grant them the same wholesale exemptions from regulations governing contributions to political candidates that mainstream reporters, editorial writers and pundits get.
The FEC is now considering whether rules should apply to publications on the Internet. It announced earlier this year that it is inclined to formally extend the exemption to the Web sites of traditional news operations, along with such sites as Slate, Salon and the Drudge Report that exist only online. The panel did not take a position on granting the protection to bloggers, some of whom have incorporated for liability purposes. Instead, the agency asked the public for comments on the issue and held two days of hearings, much of which focused on the exemption question.
So, who do you consider a journalist? Does your organization have a response mechanism for bloggers? Has it even come up yet? How do you respond to inquiries from bloggers?
Inquiring minds want to know. 😉