EXTRA CREDIT – JOURNALISTS vs. BLOGGERS

According to the free dictionary , a blogger is a person who keeps and updates a blog. According to the same website, a journalist is a person whose occupation is journalism; a person who keeps a journal. They could be a writer for newspapers and magazines, writes editorials, work with broadcasts on radio or television, write for gazette, write about specific topic like sports; writes books, etc. But a writer is a person who is able to write and has written something. A journalist could be a writer. “Journalists say a thing that they know isn’t true, in the hope that if they keep on saying it long enough it will be true” [Arnold Bennett The Title]

After reading, “What’s one difference between a blogger and a journalist?” by Shari Weiss, I thought it was a very important quotation “Bloggers do like I’m doing right now — write my thoughts just after they come to me. Journalists research. . . and then write.” I do agree with her bloggers write their thoughts after they just come and journalists research first than write. At least should be like that!

Reading others articles about bloggers x journalists, make me think about difference between journalists and writes. In my country, Brazil, for long time, they tried to abolish Journalism University, arguing that any good writer can be a journalist and they don’t have to study 4 years to get a degree to work as a journalist. Of course, as a journalist, I don’t agree but I have to be flexible that very good writers, talent people have been writing for newspaper and doing a good job.

Reading the article  “Blogging vs. Journalism: The Ongoing Debate” make me think about that discussion in my country. According to that website, they divide their opinion in 4 different ways.

Opinion #1: Blogging is not Journalism

Opinion #2: Blogging is a Training Ground for Journalists

Opinion #3: It’s Not the Source, it’s the Quality

Opinion #4: The Journalist’s Checklist

According to that website, the first opinion # 1 – they said that blogging isn’t journalism. “You can’t just sit on your computer all day. You need to get off your butt, go out there and interview sources, investigate the issue yourself and then write what you’ve learned.” The unfortunate reality of the short news cycle is that bloggers sometimes have to take a flying leap onto a story to get it out there.

In my opinion, like in Brazil, good writer could be a journalist without study journalism, sometimes a blogger is a good journalist, and sometimes a journalist can be a blogger. In my opinion, the key is quality, credibility and sources”.

The second opinion # 2 – they said that Blogging is a Training Ground for Journalists. “Other people see blogging as a step along the road to becoming a journalist. In the end, Evans sees the question as being nuanced. I may be an ‘official’ journalist with a title and make my living this way, but that doesn’t make me a better writer or reporter than some of the bloggers out there today,” he said. “Essentially, the line between the blogger and the journalist is much more blurred than it once was, and frankly, I’m quite pleased about this. It means that if you have an interest in writing or posting your thoughts online and get other people to read them, you can become a success.”

Opinion #3: It’s Not the Source, it’s the Quality –  “Good reporting is good reporting no matter if it can be found on a piece of paper or on a computer screen or a TV on a stone tablet.  Good reporting includes well-sourced, reliable material presented in a captivating way.  Many blogs seek to include this type of content, as do many websites.  However, some perfectly good blogs do not.  Either they are more observational, editorial, or just flat out pithy.  All of that can be great, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it journalism.” However, this characterization inevitably and necessarily blurs the lines between the two disciplines of reporting. Since the quality of the information is priority number one in this scenario, the best sources will inevitably span a range of disciplines, from conventional media to blogs. In this way, the line between the two disciplines gets fuzzier.

Opinion #4: The Journalist’s Checklist

Speaking about O’Dell’s comments on journalistic technique, Martin says that “A big-name blogger once told me that tech blogging was “A very specific skillset”. That blogger was right; a good tech blogger can get hold of a big announcement from its original source and in less than ten minutes write an accurate 150 word piece about the who, what, why, where and when of the story. Not every journalist would be asked to do that and I’m sure some in certain fields would balk at the idea, but for us it comes with the territory.” In short, both O’Dell and Martin see journalists as technicians practicing a certain skill-set with precision. However, as Martin has acknowledged, bloggers often do pretty much the same thing.

The article “Blogger or journalist? How to tell the difference?” they make that difference according to the freedom the writer have when he writes. If he is connect with some newspaper or institution, they will have less freedom when they write, because they have to follow rules, politics and ethics. According to that website, “The most commonly cited reasons given to call someone a blogger (or a journalist) usually include the rigor in reporting/research (more rigor is assumed to be from a journalist), interactivity with audiences/readers (usually siding bloggers), the fact that someone has an opinion (works for both), the motivation to write about something and so on. I have briefly touched on this topic too, back in 2009 – Blogger engagement? What is a blog, but?

The difference would be related with the fact that the writer owns the platform where the content will be published or no.

“A blogger is one who owns the platform where his (or her) content is published for public viewing/reading. When I say ownership, I mean it beyond a mere byline – it is the power to publish whatever he/she thinks is right and the power to edit it at whatever point in time. He would also be responsible for promoting that content/platform. So, you could be a journalist in the New York Times and have the power to directly upload content in NYT’s online website…like how bloggers do; in fact your column on NYT could also be called a ‘blog’. But do you own the platform? If not, you are a journalist. In essence, it means you are an ‘ist’ in a journal…a journal owned by someone else, to put it coarsely. You merely write for them, using their platform. A blogger, on the other hand, owns the platform in which he/she writes. When you own the platform you produce content for, your thought process and the freedom you assume in your mind to choose the kind of things you want to write about and the words you may want to choose to communicate the story…everything is significantly impacted. If you don’t own it, you are perhaps writing from the point of view of getting through or satisfying some sort of a gatekeeper who has the job of maintaining some standards of the platform where you write/report. In the former, you are the gatekeeper and you alone maintain the standards, if any. You may well ask, can’t a journalist write anything he/she wants? Well of course, he/she can. Question is – can he/she write anything always without the interference of the gatekeeper? Is there no plug that can be pulled by the gatekeeper?

They complete saying: The complete freedom to say your mind out regardless of all the trappings – journalistic integrity, ethics, research, bias, profanity amongst others – is what makes one a blogger. We have been doing it for ages, really – but within smaller circles; like friends, peers, colleagues etc. And they were usually uttered and goes up in the air and into the minds of the small circle we shared them with. Now, we share them with a lot more permanence, usually online.

I do agree with them when they say that the key will be that freedom. If someone has their thoughts limited by editor, or institution, they couldn’t be a blogger because usually a journalist doesn’t have that freedom. They usually have to follow institution’s rules, many times politics.

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About marianabra7

I'm a brazilian publicist and journalist. I came to U.S. to study English and i have been living here for almost 8 years.
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2 Responses to EXTRA CREDIT – JOURNALISTS vs. BLOGGERS

  1. …sometimes a blogger is a good journalist, and sometimes a journalist can be a blogger…

    It seems as if the lines are being blurred between the two, if I read you right, Mariana. You certainly make a good case for such an arguement. Do you think this is what will happen in the future?

    • marianabra7 says:

      Hello Gregory,
      Sorry for my late response. I took 2 weeks vacation from everything and i was disconnected with the world.
      I agree with you that the lines are being blurred between the two… i just think we don’t have rules for that! Its like my example about journalists and writers. Some people are talent, some people need to study to show their talent. I’m kind of lost about your question: if i think what will happen in the future?

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