Bloggers with press passes
The Texas legislature is revisiting the big question: are bloggers really journalists?
Some TX legislators want bloggers to have the same rights as mainstream media in covering the legislature from the floor. With mainstream media coverage in Austin shrinking by half, from 66 reporters in 2001 to 37 in 2006, bloggers are filling the gaps in reporting and some desire the protections and respect afforded their mainstream counterparts.
But, what separates a blogger from the guy at the end of the bar who is spilling his take on the political front, asks The Houston Chronicle capitol bureau reporter R.G. Ratcliffe in his podcast on Texas Politics. When considering bloggers from the mainstream media, the answer is the same for the print medium: readership and reputation. The TX legislature doesn’t pass out credentials to anyone with pen and paper, but exercises the discretion necessary to serve the public interest of information dissemination.