Photo from The Guardian Chronicle

In a victory that further legitimizes the blogosphere, three online journalists were handed press credentials by the New York City Police Department last week.

But it took a federal lawsuit for this to happen because police initially refused them press passes on the basis that they did not work for a “legitimate news organization”.

Nevertheless, the lawsuit will move forward, vowed civil attorney Norman Seigel, according to The New York Times.

“This step recognizes that bloggers are 21st-century journalists,” Mr. Siegel, a noted civil liberties lawyer who has announced plans to run for public advocate next year, said in a phone interview. “It’s an important first step, but only a first step, because we still need to address the constitutional problem of who gets press credentials in New York City. The Police Department should not be in the business of determining who’s a journalist.”

The three independent journalists, Rafael Martínez Alequin, Ralph E. Smith and David Wallis, each run their respective journalistic websites.