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Technology, Time and Texts:. How State Shield Laws Have Kept Pace With New Media (or Not). Dean C. Smith University of North Carolina [email protected] (919) 929-9160. Initial questions. Are bloggers journalists?. What can Congress learn from the states?.

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Technology time and texts

Technology, Time and Texts:

How State Shield Laws Have Kept Pace With New Media (or Not)

Dean C. Smith

University of North Carolina

[email protected]

(919) 929-9160


Technology time and texts

Initial questions

Are bloggers journalists?

What can Congress learn from the states?

What can we learn from the states’ experience?


Technology time and texts

Initial questions

Text = statutes

Subtext = history

Statutes as historical documents

Statutes as cultural artifacts

“At any given moment, life is completely senseless. But viewed over a period, it seems to reveal itself as an organism existing in time, having a purpose,trending in a certain direction.” Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)


Technology time and texts

Research questions

How have states defined “journalist” for the purposes of shield laws?

How have those statutory definitions changed over time?

How have those changes reflected, or not, the rise of new media technologies?


Technology time and texts

Method

Textual analysis

+

Historical context


Technology time and texts

Method

Covered Person

Full-time

Part-time

Contracted

Affiliated

or

Any person?

+

Covered Media

Newspaper

Magazine

Radio

Television

Wire service

Cable/satellite

or

Any medium?


Technology time and texts

Findings: patterns

Resistance Adoption

The law lags…

sometimes by decades.

The lag seems to mirror attitudes of print journalists.


Technology time and texts

Findings: innovation adoption

States as incubators, legislators willing to adapt to change.

But a slow and uneven process, over years and decades.

Natural bias toward print, yet magazines named in only 24.

Radio, TV not until 1949, then 37 years to integrate.

Cable TV named in five, satellite in one.

Book authors included in three, Internet in none.


Technology time and texts

Findings: time sensitivity

The era in which a statute was drafted is a strong predictor of its protective sweep, how broad or narrow.

Statutes with broadest sweep are not most recent.

One of the most narrowly drawn dates to 1998 (Fla.).

Strong momentum toward expansion seen in the 1960s and ’70s seems to have stalled.

No move so far to incorporate Internet.


Technology time and texts

Findings: context

Trend: Innovation

Rise of… radio + television + cable + the Internet

1896 -------------------- State Statutes Unfold ------------------ 2006

Rise of… objectivity + standards + education + ethics

Trend: Professionalization


Technology time and texts

Findings: context

Assumption: Time

Centrifugal: Innovations

exerting outward pressure

on definitional boundary

Centripetal: Professional

mores pressing to hold boundary intact

Tension point:

Recurring area

of disagreement


Technology time and texts

Findings: Periods

Period I

Period II

Period III

1896 Maryland

1933 New Jersey

1935 California

1935 Alabama

1936 Kentucky

1936 Arkansas

1937 Penn.

1937 Arizona

1941 Indiana

1943 Montana

1949 Michigan

1953 Ohio

1964 Louisiana

1967 Alaska

1967 New Mexico

1969 Nevada

1970 New York

1971 Rhode Island

1972 Tennessee

1973 Nebraska

1973 North Dakota

1973 Oregon

1973 Minnesota

1974 Oklahoma

1977 Delaware

1982 Illinois

1990 Georgia

1990 Colorado

1992 Dist. of Col.

1993 S. Carolina

1998 Florida

1999 N. Carolina

2006 Connecticut

Hallmarks

I = Static

II = Surge

II = Retrench


Technology time and texts

Findings: Periods

Period I

Period II

Period III

1896 Maryland

1933 New Jersey

1935 California

1935 Alabama

1936 Kentucky

1936 Arkansas

1937 Penn.

1937 Arizona

1941 Indiana

1943 Montana

1949 Michigan

1953 Ohio

1964 Louisiana

1967 Alaska

1967 New Mexico

1969 Nevada

1970 New York

1971 Rhode Island

1972 Tennessee

1973 Nebraska

1973 North Dakota

1973 Oregon

1973 Minnesota

1974 Oklahoma

1977 Delaware

1982 Illinois

1990 Georgia

1990 Colorado

1992 Dist. of Col.

1993 S. Carolina

1998 Florida

1999 N. Carolina

2006 Connecticut

Hallmarks

I = Static

II = Surge

II = Retrench


Technology time and texts

Implications

If patterns hold…

It will take years yet to absorb Internet into law.

Statutes will seem increasingly outmoded.

As more journalists work online, more left exposed.


Technology time and texts

Recommendations

Renewed lobbying efforts – federal and state.

New wave of amendments to update existing law.

Reckon with Internet sooner rather than later.

More active role for journalism educators.


Technology time and texts

Next steps

Legislative histories

Case law

Political history

First Amendment perspective


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