Here's Alabama's proposed official press credential policy...Anyone see any potential problems, any possible ways to abuse such a system? Fortunately, the disinfecting powers of sunlight brought enough of those legislators from both parties to their senses, according to this leftie web site:
Notice how much emphasis is placed on being paid and working for incumbent media outlets. This wording gives incumbent media preference over upstarts and quite possibly means those whose platforms aren't instantly recognizable by legislators will be deemed "non-press" and denied access.
Also notice how much information journalists will need to provide in exchange for a press pass. If you want to cover the Alabama legislature, you'll need to prove that you're a salaried employee of one of the entities on the "approved" list. Maybe something on official letterhead will be good enough for the legislature. Or maybe it's suggesting you bring a pay stub or two with you and a portfolio of your work (... and financial statements verifying your employer has subscribers, still in business, etc...). And God forbid you hold a part-time job with any "person, firm, corporation or association" that "attempts to influence legislative issues," but still attempt to "certify" that you have no connection to myriad entities listed in the "forbidden connections" section. You can kiss your credentials goodbye. And this part of the list about forbidden connections -- "or political party" -- suggests journalists are better off not registering to vote.
Beyond that, there's the weird stipulation that those receiving press credentials will need to be "engaged primarily in reporting the sessions of the legislature. (And be able to prove it.)
Update 1/14/2015: The Alabama Legislature "declined" to change the rules for journalists yesterday, with senators from both parties objecting & warning of possible unintended consequences. Amazing how the bright light of media attention helps to bring sanity to the chamber!Freedom of the press dodged a bullet last week. And I'll celebrate this win along with that crazy leftie blogger!
This blog? This blog is the press spoken of in the Constitution, along with the institutional press.