After Police Relent, Bloggers Get Press Credentials
“Now bloggers will have a venue to apply to get their credentials. . . I’ve been in City Hall for almost 25 years, and I’m not going to stop now.”
cccccccccccMartínez Alequin, City Hall Gadfly
Three bloggers who had sued New York City after the Police Department denied them press credentials, because they work for online or nontraditional news outlets, were issued credentials on Friday after police relented, bloggers’ lawyer, Norman Siegel said.
Bloggers saw their victory as a major step in gaining respect for the job they are doing in keeping the public informed. Others saw the City's turnaround as a realization of the changing ways in which New Yorkers are both receiving their news and interacting with local government, politics and their own communities. A generation ago all news flowed thru the City's Newspapers. In the 60's and 70's TV news began to compete with the traditional press. In the last 5 years evolving technology and shifting economies have brought a new major player to the table of news providers: the Internet and bloggers.
The Internet has transformed our world as dramatically as the Gutenberg Press, but there is a big difference. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1439, it took generations for the world to feel its full effect. The Internet in just a few short years has put newspapers on their own obit page and elected a United States President. Most Americans today receive their news online, so that a guy in his Manhattan apartment can now compete on the internet with old line institutions of journalism. While the quality and standards of city-wide coverage of the old time newspapers have yet to appear in the blogging community, there are some very good bloggers reporting daily in many communities. With the dumbing down and cutting back of newspapers and TV news caused by economic realities, the blogging community is the only place where quality is actually improving. In other words, the City has finally acknowledged the eventual certainty that blogging will soon control news distribution.
The three bloggers — Rafael Martínez Alequin - Your Free Press, Ralph E. Smith- The Guardian Chronicle and David Wallis - featurewell.com — filed a federal lawsuit in November asserting that they were denied press credentials in 2007 “with little explanation or opportunity for appeal.” They argued that the system for issuing press credentials was “inconsistent and constitutionally flawed.” Mr. Siegel said he was delighted with the outcome, but he vowed to continue the lawsuit, saying that further reforms were needed. "This is an important first step, but only a first step" Siegel said. "We still need to address the constitutional problems in the system of granting press credentials in New York City that has run amok and needs to be changed immediately, so the lawsuit continues." Siegel said he would prefer to see the city Department of Consumer Affairs handle press credentials, calling it inappropriate for a high-profile agency like the police department to have the final word on who is a journalist. *** Score One For The Bloggers ***After Police Relent, Bloggers Get Press Credentials *** Bloggers Battle NYPD And Win. Sorta.
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