NYC to Treat Bloggers Like Journalists, by Giving Them Press Passes

City Hall just made life a little easier for bloggers who do shoe-leather reporting. New York City will now issue press passes to qualified online journalists, allowing them access to areas where the city restricts public access. We can thank blogger Rafael Martinez Alequin, who filed the lawsuit that precipitated the change.

Update: Gotham Gazette alerts us that two additional plaintiffs —’s David Wallis and Guardian Chronicle’s Ralph E. Smith — also pressed the case.

Before today, journalists who worked online were routinely denied press passes, presumably owing to antiquated definitions of what it means to work in media. Frankly, we’re surprised it took this long. From today’s announcement:

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 news gathering 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.

So it’s not like any old yahoo with a blog can get special access to exclusive or difficult-to-access events; the yahoo must be invested enough in the beat to have written about restricted events six times. Only the most dedicated bloggers get access. Seems fair.

The press release, which appeared in today’s City Record, is available in full at the Observer and the Gotham Gazette.

Further Update: In our haste to add mention of the two additional plaintiffs, we originally switched their occupations. The original text read, “’s Ralph E. Smith and the Guardian Chronicle’s David Wallis.” Smith is at the Guardian Chronicle, and Wallis is at Featurewell. We regret the error.