I am a journalist. I am a semi-retired economist. I am a sometime actor/musician. But I am a journalist. That means I have protections guaranteed to journalists by the US Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights.
I am prompted to remind you of this position because of this report. Apparently a US Senate committee is struggling to define what a journalist is, and I do not like their definition(s):
The protections would apply to "covered journalist," defined as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.
It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a "covered journalist," who would be granted the privileges of the law.
The compromise also says that information is only privileged if it is disseminated by a news medium, described as "newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast . or motion picture for public showing."
While the definition covers traditional and online media, it draws the line at posts on Twitter, blogs or social media from non-journalists.
This definition more than cheeses me off. In other people's eyes, I am a journalist. Despite the fact that EclectEcon is a small-ish blog, it has more readers than some small weekly newspapers. And that doesn't include anything else I do as a journalist. I deserve protection, and I assert that I am entitled to it. Just try to get me to reveal my sources! As I wrote last June,
Here are my media credentials:
- Blogging since November 4, 2004, probably averaging more than a post a day, including live-blogging several conferences and events.
- Teaching economics for journalists between 1979 and 1994.
- Writing numerous columns for various newspapers. (here are just a few)
- Appearances on CBC, CBC-TV, TVO, and CTV discussing economics issues.
- Play-by-play baseball announcer for the London Tigers (radio) and the London Werewolves (radio and television).
- Member of the Canadian Curling Reporters association, reporting from national and international championships.