The First Amendment and the use of technology has transformed the way in which the news is delivered. Bloggers can utilize social media and a variety of technological tools to disburse information to their online viewers. In order for bloggers to provide valid and reliable information, they are getting press passes to attend various events. Is it fair for bloggers who have not had a formal education in journalism to have the same rights as journalists?
In the Legal Guide for Bloggers it states that, “The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you’re doing is legal.” Although the Legal Guide for Bloggers encourages bloggers to continue blogging, they need to research and become knowledgeable of the laws for the state they are reporting or the events they are covering.
Press passes allow journalists and bloggers access to areas the average citizen is not allowed to attend. This affords them the opportunity to gather the information, pictures, and videos needed to cover the specific story. Getting press passes is not an easy task. For example, journalists get their press passes because the networks they are affiliated with apply for them and ensure they are cleared to cover the event. Although bloggers can get press passes, there have been times when they have been denied. For newsgathering purposes, bloggers are entitled to attend court hearings, attend public meetings, and access public records to gather the information needed to disseminate the information.
Melanie Snow, of Trinity, Fla., emphasized that, “As a member of the press, it seems like everyone can be a journalist if they have a laptop or a smartphone. The decision on whether these people gain press credentials needs to be highly evaluated, not only as a means to maintain security at an event or press conference, but to ensure the coverage is being produced by legitimate news sources.”
Snow noted audience game reaction after the 2006 Final Four game in Indianapolis. “It was an excellent way to be right in the middle of the action during one of the most heated sporting events in Indianapolis basketball history,” Snow stated.
Snow produced a story on Millionaires Row during the 132 Annual Kentucky Derby where she interviewed celebrities, jockeys, and horse trainers about the race. While at the Annual Kentucky Derby, Snow had the honor to interview Pop Star Eddie Money, Carson Daily, Nick Lachey, and Gladys Knight.
While in the Tampa Bay area, Snow met Miss Destructo, Amber Osborne, at several key Bay area entertainment events. Snow continues to follow Osborne and her company even now after Osborne moved her company to Seattle.
“While it is amazing to watch some people grow a blog into a large following enough to gain local or even national attention, it does not give them the necessary skills to properly conduct themselves at certain events which many journalists have received training to know how to cover. The media credential should still hold merit; otherwise, it becomes an open door policy to the public,” expressed Snow.