In a rare showing of solidarity with the new media of the Internet, The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) have condemned Diane Feinstein, for trying to paint members of the new media as illegitimate. In fact, they are considering changing their name to the Society of Professional Journalism. One of it’s leaders described Feinstein’s efforts as “neurotic.”
While discussing the possibility of a name change, a regional director, Michael Koretzky, said, “SPJ’s name doesn’t accurately reflect its current membership because many members and even many SPJ board members are not professional journalists.”
The proposed name change failed on the first vote, but will remain on the table for future consideration, according to according to SPJ President Dave Cuillier, who said:
“I am creating a task force to look into it further and provide recommendations to the executive committee and then the full board, which could then make a recommendation to the delegates at a future convention.”
The SPJ objects to what Feinstein said during a Senate Judiciary meeting on the shield laws, when she said, “this bill is described as a reporter shield law — I believe it should be applied to real reporters.’’ The law that was proposed by Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is in reaction to revelations that the Department of Justice had secretly subpoenaed the Associated Press’ phone records.
The AP is reporting that Feinstein had objected to the language and wanted to limit the scope of the bill, ‘‘that the current version of the bill would grant a special privilege to people who aren’t really reporters at all, who have no professional qualifications.”
The SPJ did approve a resolution offered by ethics committee Chairman Kevin Z. Smith. Here are some exerpts from that resolution:
“Any attempts by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., or any other federal lawmakers to create a restrictive definition of ‘journalist’ in the context of a shield law is an affront to journalism and to First Amendment rights of a free press.”
“Journalists should not be defined by the mediums in which they work, the percentage of their incomes derived from journalism work, their education, their employer, or any other specific criteria that would limit their abilities to inform the citizenry.”
The Daily Caller reached out to Smith, who told them, (Feinstein) “obstructed the shield law over this definition” (in 2010). “I thought it was appropriate for us to make a statement while at the convention in her backyard.”
“They use that same restriction to deny access to information, or press credentials or who public officials will speak to. This is a direction we can’t go and we are not going to let the narrow-minded thinking of one, neurotic U.S. senator take us in that direction.”
The Senate will resume debate on the bill next month, when they return from their August recess.