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Senate panel OKs measure defining a journalist

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WASHINGTON » A Senate panel has approved a measure defining a journalist, which had been an obstacle to broader legislation to protect reporters and the news media from revealing their sources.

The Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 today for a compromise worked out by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin in coordination with news organizations.

The panel pressed ahead in debating the overall bill that would codify many of the regulations proposed earlier this year by Attorney General Eric Holder.

The bill would apply to a "covered journalist" and defines that individual as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. It would extend to student journalists.

A federal court also would have the discretion to declare an individual a "covered journalist."

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