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Nov. 13, 2008, 11:49 a.m.

NYPD tries to figure out who’s a journalist

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.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email (joshua_benton@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Nov. 13, 2008, 11:49 a.m.
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