Are you a journalist?
When real estate bloggers write market reports, when they write about a new technology they’re using, when they describe a new development or zoning change or election, they’re practicing journalism.
Journalism’s definition as it is seemingly known today is fluid – it’s reporting news, current events and in our world, our respective real estate markets and the influences that are affecting them.
What this morphing definition means in the context of each individual state’s real estate advertising rules and laws has yet to be tested*, and God help whomever will be the first to defend our right to write/blog/discuss real estate in the same format.
But here’s the thing –
Like pornography, part of defining journalism is knowing it when it’s seen. And therein lies part of the challenge – the ambiguity, the inherently situational nature of each individual bloggers’ respective situations.
Lots of bloggers are clearly not journalists. But – lots of bloggers clearly are journalists. An even greater number likely practice some form of journalism one day, and then not again for a week or two. Some bloggers can be journalists, too, and this suit in the Commonwealth of Virginia may just set the precedent for bloggers – and their commenters. Wouldn’t any one of us go to bat to protect our commenters’ rights to anonymity?
But … What is “news”?
News is any new information or information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience. News, the reporting of current information on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines.
The EFF says:
… The definition of news media has been interpreted broadly, and we believe that a blogger who is gathering news for a public blog should qualify. For more information, see the Bloggers’ FAQ on the Freedom of Information Act.
Representative of the News Media refers to any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.
Are Tweets a form of journalism? They’re cited across all forms of media – print, internet, tv, radio … Tweets report breaking and ongoing news, insight and opinions …
Yet another question – What does your Errors and Omissions coverage say?
I’m no journalism professor, lawyer nor paid journalist, but I do believe that a precedent needs to be set – might the NAR be up for investigating and putting together a white paper on this?
Some of what some of us are doing is reporting “news.” Are we journalists? I think the answer is “sometimes.” Let’s embrace the ambiguity and keep doing what we’re doing as well and as honestly as we can.
If presented with the need, would you leap under the protective cover of the protections provided by the journalistic blanket? I know I would.
*Please let me know if I am wrong – I’d love to see the case.