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We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age [Hardcover]

by Scott Gant
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)


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Book Description

June 12, 2007 0743299264 978-0743299268 1
There is a battle brewing in American life in which bloggers and other citizen journalists will demand the same rights and privileges traditionally enjoyed by professional journalists.

What is a journalist? What differentiates journalists from other people who seek to disseminate ideas and information to the public? Does whether someone is considered a journalist depend on where his or her words are published? On whether he gets paid? On whether she offers only "objective" facts or also supplies her own analysis and ideas?

It was not long ago that the lines between journalists and the rest of us seemed relatively clear. Those who worked for "news" organizations were journalists; everyone else was not. In the view of most, you knew the press when you saw it.

Those days are gone. Thanks to the internet and the growing "blogosphere," the lines distinguishing journalists from other people who disseminate information, ideas and opinions to a wide audience have been blurred, perhaps beyond recognition. Some of that blurring has resulted from forces outside the media, some from the transformation of the media itself. Whatever the causes, it is harder than ever to tell who is a journalist.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Gant, a law partner in Washington, D.C., and former counsel for the New Republic, attempts to update our slim definition of "journalist" for the Internet age. In this narrow volume, he casts a wide net. Adamant that journalism is an activity undertaken, and not a profession practiced, Gant invites us all to join the ranks of the press. He argues that the media's role as a check on government depends on both the expanded category of journalist and the unfettered freedom to report without fear of government reproach. Using specific landmark constitutional law cases, as well as contemporary examples, including the Valerie Plame case and the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who uncovered the BALCO scandal, Gant makes the case that the health of our democracy requires a press clause that entitles journalists to constitutional protection from revealing their sources. His argument draws parallels between colonial pamphleteers and present-day bloggers. His scope is radical, simultaneously calling for the enactment of federal shield laws for the press and a greatly expanded definition of who is a journalist (roughly, everyone). Gant's forward-thinking logic is presented convincingly, though he dismisses the most immediate problems with suspicious facility. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With the growth of the Internet and common access to technology, it is increasingly difficult to clearly mark the boundaries between professional journalists and anyone with the means to spread information about what they see, hear, or think. Gant, an attorney, analyzes the current state of flux in American journalism and argues against special privileges and protections for journalists. We're all journalists and should have the same rights under the First Amendment, he affirms. Gant offers a brief history of American journalism, its role in a democracy, and the advent of "new journalism," including the concept of the citizen journalist. He details the tensions between professional and citizen journalists and notes that more than 50 million Americans daily turn to the Internet for news. Gant highlights several recent cases where information disseminators evoked protections generally given to professional journalists: for example, an independent filmmaker who videotaped a protest in San Francisco that resulted in a clash with police and a Web site sued by Apple for disclosing information regarding new products. An engrossing look at the ongoing debate about how journalism is evolving. Bush, Vanessa

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743299264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743299268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,869,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of journalistic privilege, poorly edited December 30, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Scott Gant proposes journalistic privilege be extended to all who perform journalistic duties and not limited to professional newspaper, television, and radio journalists. In the process he gives an excellent review of the present state of journalism, how we got here, and where he thinks we might be going. Gant explores the legal precedents and ramifications of a variety of journalistic privileges. He focuses on how the expansion of Internet blogger-journalist activities is changing the face of investigative and commentary journalism. At a time when the mainstream-news topics are decided by fewer and fewer people due to one news titan merger after another, the freelance, independent, Internet blogger is providing a much-needed balance. He convinced me that the importance of protecting ones sources, of gaining access to governmental events, of exercising freedom of speech, is not diminished if an investigative journalist provides his information to the public on a blog rather than in the newspaper. The book drags a bit due to a repetitive style that could have been cleared up by a savvy editor, but the topic and the arguments discussed are especially important at a time when civil liberties are so threatened in the post-9/11 era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Christy
Format:Hardcover
In today's digital age of inexpensive and accessible media production and distribution means, it is clear that "We're All Journalists Now."

The book of this title by Scott Gant explores the current era's transition in journalism and the laws associated with the changing times. Gant's book examines today's definition of "journalist" and to whom journalistic rights ought to be afforded. There are many well done elements of his book, ranging from its historical accounts, to modern day examples, to its strong central message and arguments. This is an excellent book for a classroom discussion, as its message has many points that can be debated. While the author's position is at times questionable, this is a book that should be read. "We're All Journalists Now" is a worthwhile, thought-provoking work.

The benefits of this book are ample. Gant stays on-message well and his main points are consistently supported throughout the book: First, that "press" rights should be granted based upon the act of journalism rather than a media-organization affiliation (p. 86); second, that "the legal framework for allocating press rights and privileges is not keeping up with the pace of change"(p. 136). In addition, Gant does well to provide a full-circle historical account of the press - from the independent penny papers prepared by the people (p. 15), to corporate-driven media conglomerates (p. 20), to citizen created blogs (p.24). He investigates the ways in which "journalism is returning to its status as an activity rather than a profession" (p. 136).

Credit should also be given to Gant for his use of legal examples to highlight his message that there should be a consistent, modern system of protection for journalists. His examples range from the precedent-setting Branzburg v.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The author is an attorney and constitutional scholar October 19, 2007
Format:Hardcover
College-level collections strong in either journalism and news history or social issues need WE'RE ALL JOURNALISTS NOW: THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE PRESS AND RESHAPING OF THE LAW IN THE INTERNET AGE. It charts the unprecedented rise of blogging and different forms of both reporting and readership, surveys how traditional venues from TV to newspapers are struggling to achieve both identity and validity in the wake of these non-traditional journalist efforts, and considers both social and legal challenges to free speech and writing. The author is an attorney and constitutional scholar: this combined experience lends to a powerful assessment of changes in how information is disseminated and processed.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
If it's hard to imagine a book on the history of media in the US and the legal issues arising from the impact of the internet on said media being fascinating or even, I kid you you not, fun - think again. Because both are descriptive of "We're All Journalists Now."

The book is like a novel in that it reads with such a flowing style. Which is high praise coming from a lawyer about another lawyer. In other words, there is no legalize here and the book is clearly written for the lay person.

Which is not to say that "We're All Journalists Now" isn't chalk full of information and analysis. It is. I just can't ever remember finishing a non-fiction book so quickly where I learned so much. And it doesn't hurt that the issues surrounding the transformation of our media are becoming among the most important facing the country.
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