Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Blogger, or Journalist?

From CNET:


Meanwhile, a San Francisco video blogger named Josh Wolf remains in the Federal Detention Center in Dublin, Calif., where he continues to set new records as this country's longest-serving journalist behind bars.

He's become the poster child for a variety of free speech advocates who say his imprisonment vividly symbolizes the loss of press freedoms in post-September 11 America.

Civil liberties-minded folks are upset about the press freedom issues raised by Wolf's imprisonment. But Wolf's self-proclaimed status as a video blogger also opens a Pandora's box the fourth estate would just as soon see remain shut. More than any case I can recall, the Wolf case reflects the changing way journalism is being practiced in the age of Internet bloggers.

You can read on for more. I'm too tired to cut and paste today.


....J.Michael Robertson said...

He's journalist enough. It's my understanding that if the alleged crime is serious enough and if the authorities are unable to get what they need in any other way, then any "journalist" -- no matter who employes her/him -- would have to honor the subpeona. That's a high standard and the government should be compelled to live up to it. Journalists/reporters/newsgathering bloggers should not function as an arm of the state.

gabriela salermo said...

I also believe Wolf is at least some sort of journalist...maybe a freelance journalist at best (not that that's not a noble title or anything). I just read that he received the Journalist of the Year award from the Society of Professional Journalists for "upholding the principles of a free and independent press." I agree with the principles he is trying to stand for, but I am not sure that his particular case and how long he's been in prison (which many of us have been paying for theoretically) is really justified by his cause because there are so many little bits of information that blur those lines, not to mention those that define our constantly debated freedoms. I also feel like it's all becoming a bigger deal than it needs to be and everyone involved is at fault. In response to what Robertson said, I agree that in this case, it seems that both the journalist and the government are committing to what they stand for. I wonder who's going to give in first....

Jacob Marx said...

Wolf, although I am unsure of what identities he is protecting in the actual video, is protecting the greatest identity of all—the one that separates the free world from the captive, the First Amendment. However, ironically he does this while behind bars. Josh Wolf is protecting our first constitutional right by standing up against what could develop as a precedent—that journalists simply give up any information at all when the government threatens imprisonment. Wolf is right. Are we to become captives of our government? Are we to become fearful and dismissive of issues that threaten our right to free speech and a free press because we are too timid to fight for liberty? Wolf says no. Wolf sits in his tiny cell without material possessions and away from physical freedom, but he has one thing that won’t be taken from him—liberty. Wolf has set the precedent. It does not matter what he is deemed as, whether that be blogger or journalist, he is a member of the press and the first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Since when does keeping someone in prison over information they will not give you not a violation of free speech? Now, a man has been kept in prison since August 1, 2006 (with a 21 day bail release) over a dispute over freedom. I recall another man whom was sentenced to prison for a dispute over cultural freedoms, although he spent 27 years behind bars. Maybe Wolf will sit behind bars long enough to surpass the 35 year requirement for holding office and eventually become a president. Vote Wolf for President, 2020.