OLD Media Moves

SEC needs to define what is a journalist

April 14, 2006

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new regulations on when a journalist can be subpoenaed left out one important detail, according to former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss, who points this out on his blog: They didn’t define who is a journalist and who isn’t.

While at first blush this might seem like a black and white issue, it’s not. There are lots of people out there writing about the stock market and Wall Street, particularly on the Internet, who I would not consider journalists.

Weiss writes, “The problem is that stock swindlers have long posed as ‘journalists,’ such as by publishing ‘stock market newsletters’ that are little more than stock-promotion vehicles. More recently, we have the anonymous crackpots of the anti-naked-shorting cult, some of whom are from the world of penny stocks and are well-acquainted with stock-scam tactics.”

Later, he points out, “Now one might think that the SEC would know the difference between a crackpot website and a genuine online journal like, say, Slate. However, judging from its recent witch hunt against journalists, I am not so sure.”

Read the rest of his comments here.

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