Judith Miller visted campus two days ago - the journalist who spent 85 days in jail after refusing to reveal the name of her source during an investigation of the Valerie Plame case. She's advocating for a shield law that will guard journalists from disclosing their sources, much the same way in a patient-doctor relationship or the way a person and their priest share confidentiality.
I'm no one to pass judgment on these issues but it definitely stirs some questions. Is it likely that this law could be misused, becoming another loophole through which dirty secrets can remain hidden or the weak barrier behind which the cowardly can hide? If the press is allowed complete freedom, would this rule being enforced become the price it pays or the reward it earns?
Miller raised some other interesting points. What is the future of journalism, as it stands today? What can we (the journalists) expect from the profession and what can they (they consumers) expect from it? Does the profession have a chance of surviving or is it just another money-spinning degree for universities where those who love the written word will enroll? Is journalism about the tools and toys that have become imperitive to it - technological gadgets and gizmos - or is it about the content which is reaching the public through these fancy contraptions.
The questions tease me. I'm as eager for the answers as the next nervous journalism student in the seat next to me. We're both here to find out what happens a few years from now and if we'll be able to do our expensive degrees their due justice.
And finally, who is a journalist? The lines are blurring, with bloggers and just about anyone with access to the Internet, is able to make their opinion public. I just realized that there's a great irony in this message being declared here. Heck, who makes the rules anyway?