Column: Who is a journalist? Charter Committee (thinks it) knows

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In this week’s column in The Cincinnati Post, The Charter Committee – Cincinnati’s third political party – has walked into a debate that has been raging among journalists and people in the public information field ever since blogs and Web sites became easy and accessible enough so the average citizen could partake.

Most journalists and other media professionals, myself included, admit that in this changing media climate it is a sticky question. I do not believe anyone can say for sure where this is all going to end up.

In an earlier time, the fedora and press ticket stuck in it meant something. Access, respect and quite often privileges not bestowed on that aforementioned average citizen.

Those who could afford the actual presses or had the license to broadcast and the requisite transmitter were easy to pick out and let in on the story. They were also easy to keep out. Kept out we were of meetings, dealings, hushed conversations at cocktail parties. It’s still this way, for the most part.

But what so many do not understand – journos included, though I know that is changing – is the heartbreaking news that we reporter-types are not so special anymore (hell, many downright hate reporters now).

There will be a time in the not-too-distant future when reporters do not get press passes to much of anything. Why would the Cincinnati Reds give away press passes to their games when a plethora of relatively good bloggers – who paid to attend the game or watch it on TV – do as good of a job or better covering a game or the team in general? I think those times are coming. The big newspapers and TV outlets existing now will not have the corner on the market forever.

So, when the Charterites started dictating who or who could not join the organization based on their status as a journalist – determined by the party (or, it seems, one person) – it threw up a giant red flag. If you know the secret to who and who is not a journalist, you might want to tell the United States Supreme Court. They’re going to need you.

Though Jeff Cramerding, Charter’s executive director, swears “100 percent” that the issue with the Dean of Cinicnnati is not personal, I think it smacks of it being exactly that. In fact, a source very close to Cramerding told me it was exactly that. I can only imagine how much longer this can go on before more people start questioning the decision-making and plug up this publicity nightmare.

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