Okay, it’s not the first time, but it does seem like a rather momentous one: bloggers are now being granted press passes from the City of New York. These passes allow qualified journalists to and even sometimes within police and fire lines (within reason, of course)—and everything from bloggers to other online-only content providers.
Although bloggers are often recognized as press members at sporting events and even political meetings, a city officially recognizing online media as a legitimate news source isn’t something we’ve seen happen very often. Giving online content providers the same rights and privileges that they extend to traditional media shows a pretty impressive respect—and it does feel like bloggers have finally arrived.
The old policy required tear sheets from print media to prove the applicant’s work in print media. Radio and TV submitted tapes, but there was no way to claim to be a member of the press if your work wasn’t running through “mainstream” sources.
And that’s all about to change. Reports MediaPost:
Under the new proposed policy, the New York Police Department would be able to issue press passes good for two years to any journalist who has personally attended and reported on at least six qualified events in the city in the preceding two years, regardless of whether the reports were published online, in print newspapers, magazines, books or other media. Events that will qualify include city-sponsored activity — like a press conference or parade — as well as emergencies where the city has set up do-not-cross lines. The proposal also allows inexperienced journalists to obtain single-use press passes.
Okay, so realistically, this doesn’t affect the vast majority of bloggers. Even if you’re operating within the New York area, you’re probably not covering traditional news events. (But hey, if you are—woot for you!) But it does set an important precedent: a government legitimizing bloggers as journalists.
I also like that NYC is allowing inexperienced journalists to gain officially-sanctioned experience. One of the most populous cities in the world is encouraging its citizens to report on its goings on and official activities. That’s pretty radically transparent, don’t you think?
But perhaps most interesting: this is also happening at the hometown of one of the top newspapers in the country—one that’s struggling to adapt to the Internet. Recently, the New York Times has decided that their many popular blogs will be behind their pay wall (or possibly just count toward your pay meter limit) next year—is NYC’s move to legitimize competing bloggers going to be another nail in the Gray Lady’s coffin? What do you think?