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Michigan Lawmaker Proposes Licensing Journalists

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Should journalists be required to register with a state agency much like auto mechanics, hairdressers or plumbers do currently? According to Michigan Senator Bruce Patterson (R) who serves Michigan's seventh district, that answer is yes.

Patterson introduced just such a bill on May 11 and currently, it's been moved to the legislature's Committee on Economic Development and Regulatory Reform for consideration. So far, Patterson is the only signatory on the bill.

In an interview with FOX News's Jana Winter, Patterson said, "We have to be able to get good information. We have to be able to rely on the source and to understand the credentials of the source."

Under the details of Patterson's proposed law, journalists making application to a state board would have to demonstrate "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 three years experience as a reporter or any other relevant background information; awards or recognition related to being a reporter; three or more writing samples; reporters will also have to pay an application and registration fee.
Patterson's is one in a growing chorus of voices that are looking at ways to deal with the rising of the fifth estate — the blogosphere or those journalists not working for a known agency.

Several organizations including the Poynter Institute and the Columbia Journalism Review have addressed the topic of the free flow of information in the digital age and how best to apply common journalistic and ethical standards to those who produce such content.

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About Mr. B

  • swampthing

    That’s the Republican Party, all right. Screaming for less government and less government control, while thinking up new rules & regs for the common wormfood. Hey, don’t forget requirements for extra ID for any *suspiciously non-American* citizens applying for the right to use the alphabet.

  • David Hyde

    They should require IQ tests for state senators.

  • tom birmingham

    I’ve got a funny one. This should shut any fool down before they begin to defend or consider this idiots proposal. Also it should start a great flame thread
    Take the words “first amendment, and free speech” and replace them with “second and right to bear arms”….
    Yeah forget a 7 day waiting period. let’s just have a council that checks to see if you have the moral aptitude to own a gun.

  • Jj

    How would this affect bloggers?

  • Frank

    This looks like a tongue-in-cheek remark about the second amendment by a term-limited state senator.

  • Benjamin

    To Jj — bloggers would be required to register with the new agency as well. While obviously the specifics haven’t been fully documented, it’s not hard to see where a blogger, working for themselves wouldn’t make the “list” and not be able to cover places like the state house.

  • thinker

    And who will guard the guardians?

    Republicans want to make the rules to play republican rules. Not so fast, my pretties!

  • http://open.salon.com/blog/tricia_weight A Geek Girl

    I’ve had to comply with a criminal background check to write ‘elsewhere’. I wonder if this advice came from Glenn Beck? Rush Limbaugh yelling about liberal media? Because, you know, they’re always so honest… just sayin’

  • Ray

    David: He would flunk an IQ test, his score being negative.