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103 Dick. L. Rev. 411 (1998-1999)
And You Call Yourself a Journalist: Wrestling with a Definition of Journalist in Law

handle is hein.journals/dlr103 and id is 421 raw text is: And You Call Yourself a Journalist?:
Wrestling With a Definition of
Journalist in the Law
Clay Calvert
Unlike law or medicine, no course of study, examination, or
license is required to practice journalism in the United States.'
One need not major in journalism or even attend college.2
Defining who is a journalist'-separating the posers from the
professionals-thus is as difficult today as defining news.4
For instance, is Matt Drudge, publisher of the on-line electron-
ic publication Drudge Report,5 a journalist or merely a gossip
1. See JAMES FALLOWS, BREAKING THE NEWS: How THE MEDIA UNDERMINE
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY 150 (1996) (arguing that journalism is not a profession because it
lacks fixed standards for admission and does not require mastery over a specialized field of
knowledge).
2. For example, ABC news anchor Peter Jennings' formal higher education consisted
of a few weeks of night school at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, before he dropped
out. See ROBERT GOLDBERG & GERALD JAY GOLDBERG, ANCHORS: BROKAW, JENNINGS,
RATHER AND THE EVENING NEWS 131 (1990).
3. When one asks who they [journalists] are, there is a debate over whether the
designation journalist applies only to those employed by media organizations or also to
'lonely pamphleteers,' freelance writers, and others. Everette E. Dennis, Foreword:
Background Check-Why the Public Needs to Know More About News People, in DAVID H.
WEAVER & G. CLEVELAND WILHOIT, THE AMERICAN JOURNALIST IN THE 1990S at ix-x
(1996).
4. See KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON & CARLYN KOHRS CAMPBELL, THE INTERPLAY
OF INFLUENCE 39 (4th ed. 1997) (Just what is news? Despite many efforts, no neat,
satisfactory answer to that question has been found.). Traditional news values include
timeliness, proximity, prominence, consequence, and human interest. See Carlin Romano,
The Grisly Truth About Bare Facts, in READING THE NEWS 38, 59 (Robert Karl Manoff &
Michael Schudson eds. 1986). News ultimately is a product that journalists create and
construct. See Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News Production, in SOCIAL MEANINGS
OF NEWS 7, 7 (Dan Berkowitz ed. 1997).
5. The Drudge Report is a gossip column focusing on gossip from Hollywood and
Washington, D.C. Blumenthal v. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44, 47 (D.D.C. 1998). It is best
known for breaking the sex scandal between President Bill Clinton and erstwhile White
House intern Monica Lewinsky. See PETE HAMILL, NEWS IS A VERB: JOURNALISM AT THE
END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 8-9 (1998) (observing that an amateur gossip 'zine
called the Drudge Report broke the story).

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