Monday, March 1, 2010

SUmmary of Blogging Case Study

Last Thursday, February 25, 2010, I presented a case study on bloggers and their First Amendment rights. Since we had spent the week talking about how the First Amendment and freedom of speech affects the news industry, I thought it would be interesting to look further in to the world of blogging.

In my presentation I provided the class with a brief reminder of what the First Amendment and freedom of speech laws state and then I went in to the history of blogging. The main focus of my presentation was on what rights bloggers do and do not have. While doing research I found that there are multiple groups out there to help bloggers become more aware of their rights. The EFF: Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that has been around since the 1990’s, has now expanded their reach to helping bloggers, and they have many great things to offer the blogging community. They are a non-profit organization, anyone can join, and they help educate people of the whole online community about what their rights truly are. I told the class about a court case between Apple and a few online bloggers that the EFF was involved in and then I went on to tell everyone about the Blue Ribbon campaign that is put on by the EFF.

The EFF was not the only outlet I found for bloggers to turn to. There are also websites like the Chilling Effects, FEN: Free Expression Network, and the Center for Democracy and Technology. All of these websites provide helpful information for online bloggers. There are blog guideline checklists that can help a blogger make sure they are not breaking any rules, and there are even databases of court cases regarding bloggers.

While most of my presentation was centered on online groups to help bloggers, I did talk about the Free Flow of Information Act of 2009. This act is the newest thing that I presented in my case study because all of the groups have been around for a while now. The Act basically acts as a shield to protect bloggers from being forced to testify or provide any information about the things they post or any information they found while doing research. It is a huge stride for the rights of everyone in the online news community.

One of the biggest debates I came across during my research was whether or not bloggers should be considered journalists. I thought this was a very interesting question and at the end of my presentation I posed it to the class. I am in agreement with the responses I got from my classmates. We think there is a difference between blogging and news blogging. When a blog is legitimately about news related topics, and the bloggers main goal is to notify the public of news related information, yes they are journalists, and yes their work should be considered news and worthy of First Amendment protection.

In conclusion, blogging is a new part of the news industry. Because blogging can make news readily available to the public with just a click of a button it has suffered major hits from the mainstream news industry. There are many bloggers out there posting things without ever learning about their online rights, so to try and keep that from happening there are many groups trying to spread awareness amongst the online community of blogging rights. Blogging is very new and there are still multiple kinks to be worked out, but they are continuing to become more and more prominent in the news world, and I believe that they will continue to do so.

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