It’s a Conversation, Stupid! Video is online

Knight Digital Media Center
Me waving to the internet from the stage at USC.

As I mentioned earlier, on Oct. 1, I helped moderate an excellent panel discussion at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism in Los Angeles called It’s a Conversation, Stupid! Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, UGC meet Journalism. This was part of an intriguing seminar at the Knight Digital Media Center called Journalism in a 24/7 World: Decision-making for the Online Editor, and my panel was offered in partnership with the Online News Association.

The video for this session is now online! You can watch the whole thing here. (Scroll down to the bottom of that page.)

Proposed Federal Shield Law: Who Would It Really Cover?

OpenCongress
This OpenCongress widget shows what’s happening with the proposed federal shield law.

(NOTE: I’ve cross-posted this from Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits.)

Today the U.S. Congress is slated to act on H.R. 2102, a proposed federal “shield law” which would give journalists the right to refuse to testify about (or turn over to the government) information collected through the newsgathering process, or about the sources who supplied that information.

Not surprisingly, the White House has vowed to veto it, citing a fear of increased leaks. Here’s the full statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget, which has been circulated to reporters but not yet posted on OMB’s site.

If you want to follow the action on this bill, OpenCongress is a great resource. In addition to its main page on H.R. 2102, OpenCongress also offers feeds for status updates, news coverage, and blog coverage of this bill. And, of course, you can generate a widget for your site that shows the current status (see right).

What I found striking about this bill is that the version introduced in the House on May 2 defined the people the shield law would protect as those “engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.”

This language, which is identical to the Senate version of the bill (S. 1267), would seem to cover people acting independently of news organizations — including freelancers, student journalists, citizen journalists, and bloggers who perform acts of citizen journalism.

However, something happened in committee. The version reported in the House (which I believe is what Congress is considering today) has changed that definition in a small but crucial way that I think is a dealbreaker.

Here’s what it says now…

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Pithy video advice on citizen journalism

At BlogHer this past weekend, I stayed out way too late on Friday night with my friends and citizen journalism colleagues Lisa Williams, Tish Grier, and Beth Kanter.

Back in the hotel room after a fair amount of wine and Italian food, Beth shot this incriminating video and asked us for advice on citizen journalism. The result is simultaneously succinct and incoherent.