After refusing to put the GUARDIAN on the county “media spam list” to offer tips about press releases posted to the county web site, Ada County has done a flip flop–thanks to a letter from Idaho Press Club president Betsy Russell.
Both Boise City and Ada County refused to recognize the GUARDIAN as a viable source of news and information, citing the issue of “credentials.” There is no agency in Idaho which licenses or issues press credentials to the media…a fact Ms. Russell explained in a letter to the county spin meister, Rich Wright. She also offered some cogent remarks about the United States Constitution which prohibits any laws restricting the freedom of the press.
Here is Wright’s reply:
Dear Ms. Russell:
This letter is in response to your correspondence sent to my office on
June 5, 2006. In your letter, you outline the Idaho Press Club’s position as it relates to David R. Frazier’s request to be added to Ada County’s media email notification group. Please be advised that Mr. Frazier’s email has been added to the list.
Thank you for providing information as it relates to the current state of media credentialing in Idaho. No doubt, journalists and press clubs across the entire nation have recently struggled with the question of whether online blog contributors should be considered journalists. In fact, in March, a California judge ruled bloggers are not journalists. In the case, three blog contributors were forced to reveal their sources after posting leaked information about a new, unreleased Apple Computer product.
That precedent-setting case aside, there are some organizations, such as the Idaho Press Club, that have started to legitimize web blogs as a grassroots form of journalism. Your endorsement, and your request that we recognize Mr. Frazier as a working member of the press, has prompted his inclusion in our media group. We are certain that he, as a member of the Idaho Press Club, will abide by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics that so many members of the press have vowed to honor and uphold.
Ada County Public Information
This action has a much broader significance than may be apparent. In short, the method of delivery is not the issue. There is NO DIFFERENCE between printed pages, broadcast presentations or on-line delivery. Information is information regardless of the delivery method and it is not up to government to approve media outlets. We can only hope Boise City will get religion as well. It will save money for all of us.
Here is why blogs are so important to a free society. Reader “Jeff” points out that Rich Wright’s information is outdated and inaccurate. Lower court cases are NOT “precedent setting” and the appeal case which IS precedent setting goes in favor of the bloggers. The GUARDIAN works because the readers make it work. Simply put: “One Wright made a WRONG.”
Guardian: I noticed your blog about the issue of press credentials and who qualifies as a journalist.
Rich Wright wrote: “In fact, in March, a California judge ruled bloggers are not journalists. In the case, three blog contributors were forced to reveal their sources after posting leaked information about a new, unreleased Apple Computer product.”
You may already know this, but that decision was overturned back in May (prior to Mr. Wright’s letter). “http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/05/27/MNGTGJ3K7S1.DTL”
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