Hungry journalist did her homework…

Being an avid reader of traditional newspapers, I found a piece that holds dear to my heart: Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech.

Maura Dolan of The L.A. Times wrote, “Appeals court overturns defamation award against blogger,” on Jan. 17, 2014. 

A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web. 

It went on to say, This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers,” said UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh…

Therefore, it is great that I have the privilege to write my opinions, feelings and not be penalized for them. I worry that my pieces will bite me in the behind in the future for a better job, for a better tomorrow.

Nevertheless, I pursue my dream of writing. The blessing and curse of being a writer.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist Michael Chabon said it best, “The First Amendment has the same role in my life as a citizen and as a writer as the sun has in our ecosystem.”

I recall how I was privileged to chaperone the UMass Amherst Community Journalism class with Commerce High School of Springfield, Mass. led by Associate Professor & veteran journalist Nicholas McBride. We went on April 28, 2012 to The Newseum in Washington D.C. I saw the amazing Cox Enterprises First Amendment Exhibit on the fifth floor.

These are my pictures from that glorious day. The first picture, my daughter took, is me with wind-blown hair and my now-husband, Chris Alkiewicz, on The Newseum balcony.

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It’s great to know The Founding Fathers gave me these rights. Cornell University Law School posted:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I sought more information being a hungry journalist and found the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and The Newseum. First Amendment Scholar David L. Hudson Jr. wrote on Nov. 17, 2005 and updated it in Aug. 2010 about blogging.
One portion Hudson wrote that relieved me was:

Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, says that asking whether bloggers are journalists is the wrong question. “‘Bloggers’ is a vague, amorphous term like ‘telephone users,’” he says. “Just like some telephone users are journalists and some are not; the same thing with bloggers. The medium doesn’t answer the question. It has more to do with the function that the person is performing. That’s how we have approached the shield law question. If the bloggers’ involvement is to report information to the public and to gather information for that purpose openly then they should be treated like a journalist.
There should be a functional analysis in addition to or instead of the current analysis of what medium you are writing in,” Leslie said.As the courts have confirmed, what makes journalism journalism is not the format but the content,” says [Kurt] Opsahl. “Where news is gathered for dissemination to the public, it is journalism — regardless of whether it is printed on paper or distributed through the Internet.I can continue to research and post upon the blogging dilemma. Kurt Opsahl of San Fransisco, Cali. with his EFF.org has plenty of facts & figures, dates, quotes, etc. Yet, I shall rest and enjoy my family for the night. Be well.

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