As the internet continues to reshape almost all corners of our world, no institution has been more profoundly altered than the practice of journalism and distribution of information. In this provocative new book, Scott Gant, a distinguished Washington attorney and constitutional law scholar, argues that we as a society need to rethink our notions of what journalism is, who is a journalist and exactly what the founding fathers intended when they referred to "the freedom of the press."
Are bloggers journalists, even if they receive no income? Even if they are unedited and sometimes irresponsible? Many traditional news organizations would say no. But Gant contends otherwise and suggests we think of these sometimes unruly online purveyors of information and opinion as heirs to those early pamphleteers who helped shape our fledgling democracy. He gives us a persuasive and engaging argument for affording bloggers and everyone else who disseminates information and opinion in the U.S. the same rights and privileges that traditional journalists enjoy.
The rise of the Internet and blogosphere has blurred the once distinct role of the media in our society. It wasn't long ago that the line between journalists and the rest of us seemed relatively clear: Those who worked for news organizations were journalists and everyone else was not. Those days are gone. On the Internet, the line has totally disappeared. It's harder than ever to answer the question, "Who is a journalist?" Yet it is a question asked routinely in American courtrooms and legislatures because there are many circumstances where those deemed "journalists" are afforded rights and privileges not available to the rest of us. The question will become increasingly important as the transformation of journalism continues, and bloggers and other "citizen journalists" battle for equal standing with professional journalists. Advancing arguments that are sure to stir controversy, Scott Gant leads the debate with a serious yet accessible discussion about whether, where, and how the government can decide who is a journalist. Challenging the mainstream media, Gant puts forth specific arguments about how to change existing laws and makes elegant suggestions for new laws that will properly account for the undeniable reality that We're All Journalists Now. For all of us who care about the ways in which the digital revolution is sweeping through our culture, this is a work of opinion that will be seen as required reading.