There is still contention over the definition of the word journalist, and concerns that any attempt to enshrine reporters’ privilege could make those that don’t fit precisely even more vulnerable. Republican Sen. John Cornyn and many conservative pundits have opposed the bill on the basis it could disadvantage bloggers and other non-traditional journalists. It also has an exception for situations involving future threats to national security.
The news organizations supporting the bill note that it has a “safety valve” for bloggers and others who might slip through the cracks, because it allows a judge to declare someone a covered journalist. “This bill has judicial oversight, that extra person to say that if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck,” Cuillier said.
Pressure, potential for a federal shield law – Journalism activists say protection for reporters is long overdue | Columbia Journalism Review