What’s Off-Limits, Anyhow?

An interesting story from Lake Oswego, Oregon demonstrates how exclusivity might still be an issue when blending mainstream, traditional media with newstream, alternative media in the age of Internet blogging and web-casting.

What I found particularly disturbing about the the entire piece was not the fact that media was being legitmized and defined by the government (though I did find that too reminiscent of 1984 and therefore, still disturbing). However, I was even more uncomfortable with the idea that news media outlets were being expected to attend city council meetings and not directly report in the first place.

The collective meeting of public officials and journalists is itself symbolic–symbolic of the relationship between those who write for the press and those who pass off as representative public opinion. Maybe bloggers should be able to attend these meetings, because maybe the ideas shouldn’t be for an exclusive, hush-hush collaboration with journalists and government figures in the first place!

Hold public council city meetings, or don’t invite journalists at all. Keeping some in bed with those in federal power is not the most scrupulous conclusion. Let’s not only break traditions by allowing indy bloggers to qualify as news-makers via consistent creations of content, but also by ending such practices that contaminate the name of journalism in the first place.

The government needs to be open with its endeavors and actions, and if they can’t based on “secrecy,” they shouldn’t selectively invite journalists to make sure they have a few papers “in” on what’s going on while ignoring the entire online world of democratic commentary and analysis.

I say, like my title promptly questions, what’s off-limits, anyhow? Who gets to define journalism, and who gets to decide what kind of information is okay for what kind of journalists?


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