Just before the Mac Mini was released, a few ‘unofficial’ news sites, run by bloggers — specifically PowerPage, Apple Insider and Think Secret — published information about the Mac Mini before its release date. Apple is famously secretive about its future product launches, and has sued these three blogging sites to find out how these individuals gained access to Apple trade secrets. The three bloggers have gone to court fighting for the right to protect their sources in the same manner a traditional journalist would; their argument has been denied:
“A California judge said in a preliminary ruling that bloggers should not have the same protection afforded to journalists under US law.” [BBC]
I bring this up today, because, while most people already realize the role of traditional journalism is changing because of citizen-based, independant journalism, the laws that are designed for the past are not 100% applicable anymore. While I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the issue, it is a topic worthy of discussion. Should an individual have special rights just because they run a website? Not necessarily. Should the individual be required to publish their writing on paper, TV, or magazine in order to be considered a legitimate journalist? Again, the answer is not clear. At some point soon we, as a society, will have to develop new criteria to determine what information is protected and why.
I’d love to hear you opinion, especially if you are a blogger or journalist (and I know there are a few journalism students reading my site). What do you think?