Bloggers are now eligible for press passes from the Office of the Mayor of New York City following new rules from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which were announced by City Hall Tuesday, The New York Observer reported.
According to the Observer, the move by City Hall was in response to a lawsuit filed by Rafael Martinez-Alequin, a blogger and reporter; David Wallis, editor of Featurewell.com; Ralph E. Smith, publisher of The Guardian Chronicle; and lawyer Norman Siegel.
The City Hall announcement, from the Observer:
Under the proposed new rules published today, to obtain a press credential, an applicant must show that he or she has covered, in person, six news events where the city has restricted access within the two-year period preceding the application. In addition to employees of traditional newsgathering organizations, the new rules cover self-employed newspersons and other individuals who gather and report the news. The new press card will be issued every two years.
A press card allows its bearer, with the approval of police, to cross certain barriers established by the city at news events. Many non-city entities also rely on the city press card to distinguish who is a member of the media.
The proposed rules continue the issuance of “reserve cards” that allow news organizations to credential a reporter for a specific assignment. The proposal also provides for the continuation of the issuance of a “single-event press card,” which will be available to journalists who have pre-registered and need the credentials to cover a single event. The reserve card and the single-event card eliminate the “chicken or the egg” problem that exists for a prospective press card applicant who has not yet covered, in person, six news events.
The proposed rules allow for the creation of a press card, reserve card, and single-event card, eliminating the “Press Identification Card.”
A public comment period on the proposed new rules begins today and extends through April 7, 2010. On that day, a hearing on the rules, open to the public, will be held at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
The proposed rules establish time frames for granting or denying press card applications, and also for hearings and appeals concerning the denial of an application.
Siegel told the Observer, “Online journalists will now be considered as 21st Century journalists and be treated equally to print, television, and radio journalists.”