An article on Ars Technica, by Nate Anderson, points out a federal case where a judge has rules that bloggers have the same rights as journalists. This case was prompted by a blogger posting about his negative experiences with BidZirk using not the company logo, a picture of the company owner and his family and some not so friendly terms.
The most important section of the ruling is the one dealing with [Philip] Smith’s status as a journalist. The court admitted that it was impossible to determine in advance whether a blogger was a journalist and so used a “functional analysis” that “examines the content of the material, not the format, to determine whether it is journalism.”
The judge noted that Smith wrote the article in order to convey information, that he had done research in preparing it, that he addressed both positive and negative aspects of his experience, and that he provided a checklist for others to use. “The fact that Smith reports negatively about his experience with BidZirk does not dictate that the article’s function or intent was not news reporting or news commentary,” wrote the judge. Furthermore, he noted explicitly that “some bloggers are without question journalists.”
I can’t remember now where I heard this, but on one of the podcasts I listen to, the speaker was talking about bloggers and how they saw themselves. In this inquiry the speaker had found that most bloggers actually do not consider themselves journalists. If you know what podcast I’m talking about let me know and I’ll gladly link to it here (it had to have been one from last month sometime).