The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down a decision yesterday that makes it clear that one doesn’t need to be employed as a reporter to be granted First Amendment protections. This is a great day for every blogger and independent news-maker and commentator:
Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.
Reporting and discussing the news is no longer the province of the few. These activities are now open to all of us, and it’s wonderful to see the court system recognize this new reality.