walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_We're All Journalists Now_, Scott Gant

Subtitled: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age

Again, with a title like that, I was expecting good things. I've read similar books (_The Edges of the Field_) in the past, in the sense that this is written by a lawyer who is arguing a case, so I get the thin, the detail, the careful returning to cover what _seems_ like the exact same ground, but which is different in some way that is important from a legal perspective but rhetorically, well, maybe subtle.

A large chunk of this slender volume revolves around shield laws (the book itself is mostly about various special privileges extended to The Press). I have extremely mixed feelings about shield laws, and his summary at the end did a nice job of capturing my feelings about shield laws when Gant described the difficulties journalists-as-professionals are experiencing in getting public, legislative and judicial opinion on their side when it comes to protection for them but NOT for other people functioning as journalists who are not journalists by profession. A lot of each group are fully prepared to let the pros go jump if they want to exclude non-pros entirely.

Another chunk of this volume is devoted to non-pros who function as journalists, and why there's no good reason for treating these people any differently than people who happen to work for the mainstream media. Gant also covers (some of) why the pros are themselves compromised.

All in all, a worthy outing, and about like what you would probably expect from a book with this title, by an attorney. Which is a relief, because I'm tired of reading books and being disappointed by what I got when it wasn't what I was expecting.

I will, however, probably still donate this to the local library. _The Edges of the Field_ really was something special, and this is only extremely competent. Altho, to be fair, I may still be a little cranky at Gant because he displays a very strong bias for the work output of pros which I do not necessarily see as entirely justified. But ya know, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

If you trip over it, read it.
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