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Monday, July 31, 2006

Law - "Law-related blogging starting to see a coming of age" -- But can a law blogger ever be considered a "journalist"?

"Law-related blogging starting to see a coming of age." So reads the headline to a story today from the Chicago Lawyer (thanks to WSJ Law Blog for the tip). The article begins:

Law professors are mindful of where their scholarship lands, particularly when it's in a court decision. Douglas A. Berman, who focuses on criminal sentencing law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, is no exception. He considers citation counts the "currency of a law professor's work."

While Berman has penned more than 50 law review articles and commentaries, he estimates that only about a half-dozen of those traditional forms of published scholarship have been cited in judicial opinions.

His popular Sentencing Law & Policy Blog, on the other hand, has been cited in more than a dozen cases, including a dissenting opinion in a 2005 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (United States v. Booker).

"My blog is my most-cited work, by far. Certainly, it is more widely read than any of my scholarship," said Berman, who has been blogging about advancements in federal sentencing since 2004. "It's all part of the power of the blog."

Berman is among a growing number of law professors, law students, lawyers, and even judges who have gravitated to the world of blogs, the interactive online medium that allows people worldwide to publish their ideas, and others to comment on them -- all with an ease and immediacy that many legal professionals have come to embrace.

"Blogs help make the legal world move a lot faster. Within a matter of minutes, I can take a new legal development, make it available to the world, and comment on it quickly," Berman said. "It's kind of a self-controlled punditry." Blogging in droves Law-related blogs, also known as "blawgs," made their debut around 2000.

But can a law blogger ever be considered a "journalist"? Not according to the application that accompanies this press release from the Indiana Supreme Court, asking for nominations for "an award [to be] presented to a member of the news media for efforts in responsible reporting on the Indiana judiciary." The application specifies:
The Indiana Judges Association wishes to recognize those members of the media (newspaper, television, radio) who have made special contributions to the judicial profession by their efforts in responsible reporting of the Indiana Judiciary. The annual awards will be presented at the Indiana Judges Association luncheon in South Bend on September 14, 2006.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 31, 2006 01:47 PM
Posted to General Law Related