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Monday, March 28, 2005

It was the best of Shaw, it was the worst of Shaw 

Do bloggers deserve basic journalistic protections?

I have some mixed feelings about the above piece from the LA Times' David Shaw.

First, I began my journalism career in Southern California, and was often asked if I were that David Shaw. I would usually answer that, as far as I could tell, I was this David Shaw. I'd guess the confusion got me some decent restaurant tables, but it was hard trying to carve out a niche for myself behind the looming presence of a Pulitzer Prize-winning media critic (though I have proudly shared in a Jesse Neal Certificate of Merit).

Second, that David Shaw has some valid points. The first amendment and shield laws don't and shouldn't protect against libel and slander. Freedom of the press doesn't mean freedom to slag anyone unfairly. And it doesn't mean freedom from factuality.

But Shaw's implication that only 'real' journalists with 'real' editors deserve such protections is foolish. Sorry, I didn't realize we all held a license, like real estate agents.

Freedom of the press should extend to all who exercise their right to publish, in any format, provided that everyone is held accountable to the same standards of fairness and accuracy.

That's what this David Shaw thinks, anyway


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