Journalism is defined by Oxford Dictionary as the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast. According to this definition, bloggers are indeed journalists.
In the article “Bloggers might be excluded from Oregon’s executive sessions” written by Sieon Roux, it is outlined that in 2008 Lake Oswego, Oregon was taking steps toward defining “news media” and therefore filtering who is able to sit in on city executive meetings. This debate was fueled by Mark Bunster, author of the political blog “Loaded Orygun“. He insisted that he was a part of the news media and could attend a Lake Oswego City Council meeting. I do not think that he is in the wrong. I also do not think that a city government has the ability to restrict bloggers. By starting this controversy, Bunster was exercising his First Amendment rights as well as getting a conversation going.
Executive meetings in Oregon were already open to journalists, so what harm will a few more have? I understand that it could become overcrowded, but Lake Oswego could avoid this by issuing press passes on a circulating basis so that journalists could take turns attending meetings.
The proposed new definition of news media was “institutionalized” “well-established” and at least 25 percent news based. Doesn’t the adjective institutionalized go against everything that journalism was created to refute? That is why today’s world needs bloggers.
Wendy Culverwell, the president of the Oregon state SPJ chapter said it best when she said, “It just went to fairly long extremes to define media, to require people to provide fairly lengthy documentation. That’s just not appropriate for a city government to be doing.”
Although this situation took place in 2007, it is similar to the North Dakota Pipeline case in which the government and the pipeline company tried to censor Amy Goodman and cease her coverage of the construction and its impact on the community. Instead of attempting to define her title, they issued an arrest warrant for her. She owns the media outlet Democracy Now!, she is not a blogger, but both situations are unfair and go against the First Amendment. In Goodman’s case, she won but bloggers do not have the same media influence that she does. Because of this Bunster’s blog is now inactive.
“The government shouldn’t be controlling the media,” he said. “What it gives, it can take away,” said Juston Randall, president of Open Oregon.