Blogging vs Journalism: Battle of the ages

Posted by Ruan
Ruan
I'm not a writer, I just write
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on Sunday, 08 July 2012
in Digital Blogs

This is a battle that has been going from the birth of blogs. But is blogging really a form of journalism? Since anyone can use Wordpress, Blogger or any of the other blogging services anyone can call themselves a blogger.

The simple answer is no.Just because you have a blog doesn't mean you are a blogger. Blogging takes time, lots of time and most blogs start out to just end because the person who started the blog got bored. That is the fundimental difference between blogging and journalism. Bloggers that keep blogging do it because they want to, not because they get paid to blog. Journalists write articles because their paycheque depends on it.

Another difference is how articles for either blogs or journalists get developed. Bloggers write about what they choose to write. Journalists get assigned stories to report on, most of the time. That is also the reason I hate reading articles by journalists. They write what they get told to write. Very few journalists write what they feel and that is what makes bloggers special. Bloggers write what or how they feel about a subject and thus they can make you look at things differently.

I've been working on gevaaalik.comfor a year and ten months now. I write about whatever I feel like on gevaaalik.com. My point of view on my choice of subject. My readers often agree with me and my articles make them think about things in a way, a way they might not have concidered before. Journalism for a major publication has the advantage of a bolt on audience. Unfortunately that audience does not always care about the subject matter a journalist wrote about. Bloggers might have to build an audience but the readers that keeps coming back obviously like your content and that's why they keep coming back.

Essentially that is why bloggers are not journalists. Bloggers cater for a smaller niche than journalist do. Obviously there are exceptions the rule, there always are. Journalist have proof that they can write, bloggers think they can write and it's not alway the case.

What do you think? Are bloggers the journalists of the internet age? Let me know in the comments.

Comments

redsaid
redsaid
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur
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redsaid Monday, 09 July 2012

Blogging (AKA Citizen Journalism) vs "Real" Journalism

I'm both blogger and journo. The major difference between the two is objectivity. As a blogger, you are not only allowed to inject your opinion into your post, you are ENCOURAGED to do it.

Journalists, on the other hand, have to remain objective. Even if you do get to choose your subject matter (which does sometimes happen), you still have to remain objective. It is a fine and extremely difficult balance to strike sometimes and I greatly admire those journos who can report objectively on a story without making you as reader feel that they have emotionally detached themselves from the story. (The best stories, the stuff that wins Pulitzer and Peabody awards, almost ALWAYS manage to evoke emotions in the reader.)

But a journo has to accomplish that emotional connection with readers without sneaking their own opinion into a piece whenever they feel like it, no matter how passionately they feel about the subject.

Unless of course you are writing a column or a piece for the Op-Ed pages of the paper.

So, to - finally - answer your question: I do think bloggers who report on events going on around them are citizen journalists, and I have read many bloggers who write with the skill and flair that rival those of professional writers/journalists. So yes, blogging is journalism of the internet age, but it is STILL different from the type of objective journalism that is required for news reporting in newspapers (on and offline), television, radio, etc. Think about it: It would be very strange to hear Riaan Cruywagen yakking on about what he thinks about the stories he reads to us from the teleprompter every night. For one, it wouldn't be very practical time-wise, probably doubling the news broadcast in length!

But there certainly is value in hearing various opinions about subjects, which is why the Op-Ed pages exist in newspaper.

So yes, bloggers can be journalists, but just different types of journos than "regular" journalists folk. Both forms offer their own challenges and rewards and I love both for different reasons.

Ruan
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Ruan Monday, 09 July 2012

Journalists report

It's very true what you say. Journalists have to report and stay objective, I get that. Will blogging ever kill traditional journalism? I don't think so, not everyone cares about my opinion on things, but those that do keep coming back and that is where the niche comes in.

I hope to one day get one of those Op-Ed columns for myself in a leading paper. But at the moment I'm not very happy with the South African media, but that is a issue for another article.

It is a fine line, like you said, keeping the personal point of view out of reporting on a subject and it is a line I'm glad I chose to cross permanently. One thing your comment did make me think was that bloggers do inject their opinion and that gives blogs (not all of them) a more personal feel. That might be why people who read my blog feel like they know me. It's a double edged sword.

Thanks a lot for you comment. You made me think about this in a different way and for that I'm grateful.

Richter
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Richter Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Blogger and Journalist

Thanks for both your points of view, nice to see both sides of the coin. Personally, walked the journalism talk for enough years to finally walk away from plying my trade and art commercially. Now, when I apply the tools of my trade digitally, it is an art on its own. Learning while doing is nothing new...yet, I do not remember ever having access to so much information, from every and anywhere, we are so fortunate...no need to ask people what they think, bloggers put it out there for all to see and comment threads, like these, are yumminess for those of us sourcing material to include in their writing. When losing sleep because I'm reading, it's because bloggers like you are walking your talk digitally, and you're doing it well. My thanks.

Ruan
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Ruan Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Thank you

Thanks for you input and thank for the comment.

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