New media quandary: Should online-only journalists be granted access to the state House floor?

Should journalists who do their reporting online have the same access at the state Capitol that broadcast and print media enjoy? The issue is especially intriguing people interested in media and government. “It is a beaut,” said Minneapolis media attorney Mark Anfinson. New media journalists have forced the issue by proposing a rule change that would add “online media” to the types of news outlets that can get credentials to work on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Who is a journalist? Continue Reading

Freedom of the press but not in MN House of Representatives

After being taken to task for refusing to recognize on-line media as journalists, the House of Representatives stumbled toward the 21st century last week, but didn’t quite make it. For those who haven’t been following the controversy, the House threw out video reporters for on-line media, barring them from committee hearings and saying that on-line media were not entitled to press credentials. Representative Tony Sertich (D-Chisholm), chair of the House Rules Committee explained:“If it’s somebody who designs their own Web site and comes down to the Capitol, … we could be deluged with walking through the door saying, ‘I’m the online media, let me have floor access.’ You think the House chamber is a ruckus … now, wait till all the bloggers get here and show up en masse.”
For more on this topic, see: Online media lobby for equal access to Minnesota House floor, Minnesota Independent Online media access to state House falls prey to ‘procedural gimmicks’, Minnesota IndependnetNew media quandry: Should online-only journalists be granted access to the state House floor?, Minnesota IndependentOpen letter from Society of Professional Journalists
At the end of a couple of weeks of debate — in the on-line media, mostly ignored by the legacy media — the House of Representatives came up with a new form called “An Application for Video/Audio Recording during a House Committee Hearing.” (Thanks to Marty Owings of Radio Free Nation for the form.) The two-page form requires information about the journalist’s employer, and “the organization with whom you are affiliated,” the “areas of news” that the organization reports on, affiliations with professional media organizations, and “the long-term nature of your assignment.” But the real kicker comes on page 2, where the form requires the applicant to promise that “your work is to tape a full committee hearing, and not individual members” and to agree not to videotape audience members or interactions before the committee convenes or after the committee adjourns. Continue Reading