Over at City Room, the NYT’s Sewell Chan writes about an interesting dispute over who the New York Police Department counts as a journalist. This isn’t the traditional tale of bloggers trying to break down the walls of press privilege — each of the three reporters (“reporters”?) suing NYPD have had press cards in the recent past. One is a gadfly who went from running a small print operation to a small online one; another runs an online syndication service but was credentialed as early as 1994.
I particularly liked this line from Sewell: “The working press card ostensibly allows the journalist to cross police lines at emergencies and at nonemergency public events.” (Emphasis mine.) That “ostensibly” will ring true to any ex-cops reporter who has been stuck behind yellow tape, pointing fruitlessly at the language on the back of his press pass.