Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Very Nice Man

The eighth in a series of weekly Virginia Bloggers Carnivals is up at Sophistpundit.

Next week's Virginia Bloggers Carnival will be hosted by River City Rapids.

Meanwhile in blogging news, one of the few Republicans in Congress who actually works to shrink the size and scope of government, Representative Mike Pence, is promoting a bill that will protect the First Amendment rights of bloggers -- or at least some of us. According to an article in Editor & Publisher,

Bloggers who actually gather news would be protected under the proposed federal shield law, the legislation's first author, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told the Inland Press Association Monday.

Pence's view of who would qualify as a journalist under the Free Flow of Information Act differed from the assessment of the bill's co-sponsor in the Senate, Indiana Richard Lugar.

Exactly two weeks before speaking at the Inter American Press Association, Lugar said bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists eligible for the act's protections.

Pence said bloggers would likely have to be considered on a "blog-by-blog" basis.

"Frankly, there are some that are out there gathering news," Spence said at Inland's 120th annual meeting. "There are many people though, who just link to your newspapers. It would be hard to argue to anyone that privilege applies to those people just because they have a Web site."

Pence asked the Inland publishers to rally their readers around the Free Flow of Information Act. "I believe we have an historic opportunity to close this hole in the First Amendment."
Echoing Thomas Jefferson's view that "were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter," Pence explained his motivation in filing the bill:
"As a conservative, I believe the only real check on government is a free press," Pence said. "And as someone who believes in limited government, I believe nothing is more conservative than promoting and protecting the principle of a free press."

Pence said he frankly believes much of the news media is liberal, and he joked that he reads The New York Times every Sunday morning and then goes to church to "so I know what both sides are up to."

"This isn't about protecting reporters," he said of the proposed shield law. "This is about protecting the peoples’ right to know."
Blogs are also getting more attention from readers -- perhaps even from readers who should be doing something else. Reporting on an Advertising Age study, Adam Gosling of Australia's Smart Office News writes:
US Blog readers waste more than half a million work years goofing off reading blogs in 2005 according to research by Advertising Age.

About 25 per cent of the US workforce, or about 35 million workers spend an average of 3.5 hours, or 9 per cent of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age's analysis.
Gosling adds:
With estimates that 25 per cent of blog visits are directly connect to the job. The remaining 4.8 billion US work hours will be spent reading blogs not related to work.
So the question is: Does your boss know you're reading this?

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