As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bloggers Getting Respect? Perish the Thought!

Just got this in an email:

Steve Geissinger, Capitol reporter for MediaNews and president of the Capitol Corresspondents Association, reports that the association board is proposing new rules that would allow bloggers into the organization, making them eligible for the legislative credentials needed to access the Senate and Assembly floors and to attend many Capitol news conferences. Under the old rules, if a reporter didn't work full time for a major print, radio or TV organization, he or she couldn't be credentialed. But the association board, wishing to integrate bloggers into the press corps and under pressure from the Legislature and bloggers themselves, has called for a membership vote on the proposed new rules, Geissinger said. The new rules are in the form of amendments to the association by-laws and to its official membership application, and were developed largely by the association's secretary-treasurer, reporter Laura Mahoney of the Bureau of National Affairs. Given that bloggers are not necessarily full-time reporters, the new rules require that applicants for credentials must, as before, be covering state government news but also must derive "at least half" their earned income from "media jobs," a term broad enough to cover web postings. Applicants then are required to list those jobs, including self employment, on their applications. And they are notified that a "willful misrepresentation" could cost them their credentials. Mahoney said the board developed the new rules after much thought and work and that they are taken largely from rules already adopted by reporters covering the US Congress.

I don't think this goes far enough, actually. We all know that acquiring half your income from blogging is pretty restrictive. But it will apply to some, and push the door open a crack for more. California has typically been ahead of the curve on this issue, at least on the Democratic side, allowing bloggers to attend the CDP Convention in 2003 (which kind of kicked off the Dean campaign). Let's hope this gets passed, and is a gateway to treating online media the same way as offline media. You can review the proposed changes here.

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