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Ignacio -- I wouldn't discount your blog as a "just" in any way. I have read interesting stories full of heart there (that photo and of Tal is precious). There *is* dissonance between editorial and advertising and implying that someone, anyone, being willing to pay money for what you write makes you more credible is rubbish. Then again, I read someone calling posts BLOG's today so there is still a lot of confusion on what we're talking about ;-)

Emanuele -- benvenuto! Can you see the red carpet there? I hope my Italian readers who don't know your blog will visit soon. Well, we do know that some publications are more conservative than others... I like the approach La Stampa takes; they may not employ you, at least they list your blog.

I think this is a big issue, not only for the USA.
Here in Italy, lots of journalists are a bit frightened by bloggers and citizen journalists. Traditional reporters think about bloggers as enemies who could "steal" their work.
The biggest and most important Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, doesn't even host blogs on its website...

As someone who uses a blog as a serious platform for sharing knowledge, educating and conversation (albeit in the guitar-playing community), I think the blog community needs to rally up somehow and start educating policy makers and others that "blogging" is just as "serious" as traditional news and commentary outlets. We need a big PR push nation-wide.

I recall seeing survey results recently saying the word "blog" was one of the most negative internet-related words. And I think this is mainly due totraditional media in general making blogging look like background noise, or celebrity gossip.

To assume that someone should "earn income" from a blog in order to qualify for free-speech protection doesn't seem consistent with the general idea that editorial is separate from any advertising influence. I seriously doubt that any of America's early newspapers (say, in the 1790's) thought of themselves as less legitimate because they didn't have any "commercial" content.

Ultimately, the system should allow judges to make those decisions on a case-by-case basis, where they look at the reach, purpose and influence of a blog in a certain case, and decide whether a blogger should be protected. As opposed to categorizing all bloggers in one sweeping category.

Great topic.

Ignacio
Houston, TX

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