Must Reads

Blogging and the Parliamentary Press Gallery

Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor with a must-read on his experience with the Parliamentary Press Gallery.  The posting raises important questions about the treatment of bloggers as journalists.  Montreal Gazette reporter Elizabeth Thompson responds to Taylor in the comments (hat tip: Rob Hyndman).

One Comment

  1. David Akin
    Stephen Taylor’s predicament/lament is really just a variation of a discussion that the blogosphere first got caught up in early in this decade and the central question is: Who is a journalist? What is a journalist? Michael — our host here — would likely describe himself as a lawyer and a teacher if you asked him. But I’ll bet most people think he commits a lot more journalism than most journalists! Is Jon Stewart a journalist? He says he is not but millions of college kids, if asked, say that he is, that that’s where they get their news. Is Michael Moore a journalist? How about Rush Limbaugh? I’d say that the answer to this question is in the eye of the beholder. And so it should be. Readers/viewers/listeners are the ones who ought to decide who their journalists are. And if you want to be a journalist, well, ok, you’re a journalist. Knock yourself out. This question of who is a journalist is relevant to just one small but important group: The gatekeepers. With limited seats in the press box at Air Canada Centre, only sports journalists are allocated these seats and, as a result, are in a privileged position to report on the Leafs game. There are only so many questions the American President will take at a press conference and he’ll only take them from questioners that have been designated by his staff as journalists. And, to a degree, the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery is prepared to admit journalists into its organization. (And I, I should note, am a member of that group). So now, when Stephen Taylor or any other blogger, applies to be a member of my group, how should I, as a gatekeeper of sorts, assess his credentials? Is his partisanship a disqualifier? Then many of the leading columnists of the country are disqualified. Is it because he is self-published? Perhaps. But I suspect we would be disqualified many of the freelancers who are Gallery members. I’m not sure there is an easy answer here.