Apple is fighting a legal battle against a group of rumor-sites. Apparently someone inside Apple spilled the beans about Apple’s new operating system and these Apple-centric sites prematurely published the info. These websites that have a blog-like feel to them are now claiming that they should be protected under the same rights that journalists enjoy; i.e. they feel they do not have to reveal their sources. While journalists sometimes are bloggers, bloggers aren’t always journalists. Bloggers don’t share the burden of responsibility, credibility, honesty, fairness or clarity that journalists must often carry as professionals. Notice I didn’t mention objectivity.
“The court ruled that there is no legal protection for those reporters who publishes a company’s trade secrets. In addition, Apple had also sued 25 of their employees who they suspected of leaking information to these online news resources claiming that the probable leaks violated nondisclosure agreements and California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They also demanded that the news sources in question should reveal their sources.”
But given how public support of local and national newspapers has waned and the scandals within established journalism circles are curiously on the rise, I am not so sure bloggers want or should be calling themselves “journalists.”
I just learned that Mitch “Tuesdays With Morrie” Albom, who is a sports writer at the Detroit Free Press, is courting a potential dismissal from his job there. That’s plain sad that a columist who is highly regarded should succumb to, well, laziness. Albom wrote a column recently about two of his buddies from Michigan State University who were supposed to be at a game Albom was covering. While Albom described in great detail his former college friends at the game, the fact was these guys changed their mind and didn’t make it to the event. The column had been fabricated.
We all know about The New York Times debacle with one of its writers, Jayson Blair. Let’s not forget CBS News and Dan Rather’s involvement in that mess called “investigative reporting” of President George Bush’s National Guard service records. Then there was the outing of James D. Gukhert, aka. Jeff Gannon, who wrote for the conservative website, Talon News. Gukhert assumed a name and applied for press credentials when in reality he had no business being in the press briefing room of The White House.
“Gannon first gained attention several weeks ago when he asked a question at a presidential press conference that some in the press corps considered so friendly it might have been planted. Later E&P revealed that Gannon had been turned down last year for a congressional press pass because he could not prove his employer was a valid news organization. That denial barred him from receiving a White House “hard pass,” allowing regular access to White House press events.”
So, if you are a journalist these days you don’t have to be in Iraq to be wearing a flak jacket. Potshots are commonplace. Is newspapering on its way out? Are blogs the CNN of the newspaper world; your “news” now? Who do we turn to for honest, real reporting when credibility is at an all time low? Will some blogs assume that role? Which ones and why? Leave your comments here. I’ll be sure to check all appropriate links.