Being on social media doesn’t make you a journalist


Last week, the Washington Supreme Court tried to figure out who counts as a journalist in the digital age. It concluded that just having a camera and a YouTube channel isn’t enough, at least not under state law.

The case involved a YouTuber who had a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies in Pierce County. After the incident, he filed a Public Records Act request for the names, birthdates, photographs and other information for all deputies and personnel working then.

Normally many of those records are off-limits to the public to protect law enforcement from harassment, retaliation and potential identity theft. There’s an exception, though. Members of the “news media,” as defined in state law, may receive the records.

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