On Tuesday I linked to Dan Froomkin’s column in which he described the hurdles BTC News founder Weldon Berger had to jump in order to get his blogger Eric Brewer a day pass to the gaggle (hurdles that “Jeff Gannon” was never required to cross).
Today Mr. Berger e-mailed me to explain that the White House may have inadvertantly set a precedent, or at least blurred the line between journalism and blogging. Let Weldon tell it in his own words.
One of the things that has gone somewhat unnoticed is that Eric Brewer, the contributor to the blog who is getting the day passes (assuming we didn’t publicize ourselves out of the gig with the Froomkin story) is there not as a solo blogger but as the BTC News White House writer, which in effect means that the media affairs office has recognized the blog as a news organization.
I have to fax in the requests for the pass on letterhead from our sprawling world headquarters in Hawaii, and Eric has to show his BTC News press pass, along with his photo ID, to get in. It’s a distinction I’m not sure I want widely recognized because I’m not sure the press office realizes they’ve set something of a precedent by handling us as they’ve done, but it’s something that other blogs could point to in the future.
The other thing that I didn’t mention to Dan when he was researching his story is that I made a point of telling the people I was pestering in the press and media affairs offices that I represented a liberal blog (or ‘online news and commentary site,’ depending upon my sense of self-importance at the moment), so there wasn’t a question that I was trying to get us in under a false flag of non-partisanship. And I assume someone visited the site before clearing us for liftoff. I don’t know if the openness helped us at all, but it obviously didn’t hurt.
My belief is if you tell the White House Press Office that you work for an organization with “news” in its name (Talno News, BTC News) they assume you are a journalist [Note to self: talk to Athenae about changing blog name to “First Draft News”.].
Putting my beliefs aside, it appears the White House has decided that bloggers are journalists. There’s really no reason for the National Press Club to hold its big Cox vs. the Cocksman event today (which, btw, BTC News’ Eric Brewer will be blogging if you are interested).