Are Bloggers Journalists? Apparently Not In Oregon

A friend passed along this article to this morning. It regards a recent Oregon court ruling that an independent blogger must pay a large financial firm for defamatory remarks published in a series of blog posts. She was not given the same protective rights as traditional journalists in the state, and thus liable for publishing defamatory content. I encourage you to read the article for more details.

This semester, I have been reading about an increasing number of court cases that pit laws directly against advancing technology. The precedents set now are going to shape society in the years to come. What do you think? Are bloggers equal to journalists? 

The Internet is a great tool for open conversations, debates, and dialogs. It empowers citizens to speak out and let them voice their opinions to the world. The web works to even the playing field, giving everyone with access to the Internet equal opportunity to express themselves. Blogging activity has grown exponentially in the last decade, and now several respected, legitimate sources and public figures maintain their own blogs. 

Are bloggers journalists? Should they be granted the same First amendment rights? What happens if they aren't given this protection? Could this stifle conversation on the web?  These questions definitely need to be addressed. It is clear that blogs, bloggers, and the Internet are not going away any time soon, and if anything, citizens are becoming more involved with and vocal about current issues via the Internet.