Licensing journalists is a dangerous trendBy: Jason Stverak, Washington Examiner
Jun. 13, 2010
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On May 11th, Michigan State Senator Bruce Patterson introduced legislation to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”
Patterson told Fox News that some reporters covering state politics don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re working for publications he’s never heard of, so he wants to install a process that’ll help him and the general public figure out which reporters to trust.
In his bill, reporters must provide the licensing board proof of:
· "Good moral character” and demonstrate they have industry “ethics standards acceptable to the board.”
· Possession of a degree in journalism or other degree substantially equivalent.
· Not less than 3 years experience as a reporter or any other relevant background information.
· Awards or recognition related to being a reporter.
· Three or more writing samples.
This legislation not only attempts to control the media but it is stepping on the constitutional protections afforded to the press. Although this legislation is voluntary, it represents a dangerous trend that could affect journalism employment, accreditation, and access to politicians. This legislation also reflects a failure to recognize the changing face of media.