What’s the Criteria?

“A lot of these guys are fairly partisan, so I have concerns about opening the full membership to people who are not in a traditional sense objective reporters,” John L. Micek, the president of the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association, told State Legislatures magazine in January.

I see your point, John, and I know your membership isn’t a fan of bloggers, but what’s the criteria here? It’s a closed system and we the public only get what you as reporters decide to feed us. If the traditional media spelled out some standards perhaps bloggers wouldn’t get so upset.
And I won’t go off on a Jeff Jarvis rant, but…information is free. The time is quickly coming where independent websites are going to be able to compete with traditional media. Which, by the way, is dying.

4 thoughts on “What’s the Criteria?

  1. Greg:
    I think you know me well enough to know by now how supportive I am of the ‘blogging community in general, and the valuable function it serves out there in the big media-verse.
    But I’d have the same concerns about extending membership in the PLCA to MSM reporters who openly support candidates and fund-raise on their behalf. That would be an intolerable conflict, and I’m not sure why those same rules shouldn’t apply to ‘bloggers. That said, I have no issue with columnists who come to the table with a decidedly partisan stance. That’s a part of the job description. But those guys know enough to know that donations and campaigning is verboten.
    That’s the distinction I was trying to draw.


  2. Yeah, I know you are very supportive of the blogging community. But the point I’m trying to draw is this – without the firsthand access to information that you have, all blogging can ever be is opinion. Is it a chicken or egg problem? Maybe.
    I’m not sure I agree fully with your stance about candidate support. There are plenty of reporters out there (and maybe they’re not good ones, but exist nonetheless) who I can guess support one candidate/party or the other. Should we take their credentials away?


  3. Reporters and columnists who cover politics have no business openly supporting candidates or fund-raising on their behalf. It’s inappropriate and it’s an intolerable conflict of interest. I’m not sure why ‘bloggers who cover politics should get a free pass on that. And ‘bloggers who want to be considered “legitimate’ journalists should expect to play by the same set of ground rules.
    Another thought, reporters do not surrender their rights as citizens. We can register with political parties and we can vote. But, for me, those are deeply private affairs.


  4. John, I’m not sure I buy that. Reporters and columnists who cover politics often make their political views known and openly support candidates. Not to mention the fact that their bully pulpit allows them to help define the views of many members of the community. I think specifically of two newspapers in Pennsylvania who I assume are members of the exclusive club – the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pottstown Mercury. These papers are both openly biased. Tony Phyrillas, a columnist/editor at the Merc, writes weekly columns that scorch Ed Rendell on Keystone Politics. I can go on, but I’ve got to say I think the argument is week, if only because reality doesn’t live up to the ideal we’d all like it to.
    In a sense, isn’t it better that bloggers are more open about their views?


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