State Senator Proposes Law to ‘License’ Reporters

By: E&P Staff

One Michigan senator is presenting legislation that would register journalists with the state, in order to separate “legitimate” news sources from ones that aren’t quite so credible. 

Michigan State Sen. Bruce Patterson is introducing a law that could regulate reporters similarly to how it regulates other professions such as plumbers and auto mechanics. Reporters who work for what Patterson called “a generally recognized media or press association” who apply for a license and meet criteria including “good moral character” could earn the distinction of “Michigan registered reporter” for a $10 fee.

Registering with the state would be voluntary. Applicants would have to possess a degree in journalism or other substantially equivalent degree; have no less than three years’ experience as a reporter; and have earned an award or other recognition for their work.

Patterson claims citizens are being overwhelmed by the amount of media outlets vying for their attention, and such a license would help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“We have to be able to get good information,” he told Fox News. “We have to be able to rely on the source and to understand the credentials of the source.”

The bill, introduced on May 11, has been referred to the Michigan legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Regulatory Reform. Patterson admits that he doesn’t believe his bill will become law, but wants to encourage public discussion on the issue.

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