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  1. Technology, Time and Texts: How State Shield Laws Have Kept Pace With New Media (or Not) Dean C. Smith University of North Carolina smithdc@email.unc.edu (919) 929-9160

  2. Initial questions Are bloggers journalists? What can Congress learn from the states? What can we learn from the states’ experience?

  3. Initial questions Text = statutes Subtext = history Statutes as historical documents Statutes as cultural artifacts “At any given moment, life is completely senseless.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)

  4. 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?

  5. Method Textual analysis + Historical context

  6. 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?

  7. Findings: patterns Resistance Adoption The law lags… sometimes by decades. The lag seems to mirror attitudes of print journalists.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Findings: context Trend: Innovation Rise of… radio + television + cable + the Internet 1896 -------------------- State Statutes Unfold ------------------ 2006 Rise of… objectivity + standards + education + ethics Trend: Professionalization

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Next steps Legislative histories Case law Political history First Amendment perspective