Blogging has become one of the most popular online activities in recent years. Just about everyone has learned how to establish a blog, from housewives to professional SEO company owners to Internet marketers. And one of the debates that have arisen from the activity’s popularity concerns the similarities and differences between a blogger and a journalist. Some people say they are irked by bloggers trying to pass themselves off as journalists. Some people say it’s no big deal and still others just can’t see the difference between the two. So, what is the real score? How do you distinguish a blogger from a journalist and vice versa?
Let’s get one thing straight to begin with: blogging and journalism are two different things. Although a journalist can certainly maintain a blog if he wants to, his work as a blogger and his work as a journalist are completely different and separate from each other. And though it’s also true that almost all newspapers have now gone digital, that doesn’t necessarily mean bloggers will now reign even in the world of journalism. Finally, although both activities involve the use of words, the manner in which words are used often spells the difference.
There was a time when people thought only journalists and novelists had the right to write content and get it published. That time is now long gone. These days, practically anyone can write content and then publish or share it online. People have learned to accept that there are individuals who have a natural passion for writing, though they may not belong to the journalism profession. Generally speaking, bloggers are appreciated more for the fact that they can identify with the regular folk and engage them through their writing. On the other hand, journalists are appreciated for the hard work they put into their writing and the factual information they provide, though they often get an arm’s-length treatment as opposed to the warm welcome afforded to bloggers.
Journalists and bloggers both have the right to write; they simply approach writing differently. Image source
Journalists pride themselves on their objectivity. In fact, objectivity is one of the requirements of their profession, along with fairness and accuracy. Bloggers are seen more as a group of writers who tap into their readers’ emotions to successfully achieve their blogging goals. When you categorize bloggers and journalists strictly with these descriptions, you’re bound to think objectivity and emotional connection cannot go together in any way. That isn’t necessarily true. There are journalists who succeed in touching their readers on an emotional reader as well as bloggers who are able to remain objective about a certain topic even as they inject their opinion into their articles.
Yes, blogging is a different form of writing from journalism, but that doesn’t mean it has less integrity than the latter. What you simply need to understand is that bloggers do their research and their writing right within the comfort of their office or home desk whereas journalists have to be physically present at the event or scene of whatever it is they’re writing about. Once you understand the nature of their work, you’ll also understand to what extent you should take a blogger and a journalist seriously. Another way to look at it is that journalists offer you the facts and bloggers offer perspective with these facts.
There’s integrity in both blogging and journalism, but the nature of the work dictates the extent to which you should take them seriously. Image source
Sometimes blogging can actually serve as a training ground for those who want to become journalists. If, for example, you want to join the world of journalism but don’t have any writing experience, you could hone your writing skills by starting out in the blogosphere. Remember, though, that blogging will only get you comfortable with writing on a regular basis. But, the skill set you need to become a successful journalist is completely different. When you blog, you are generally just expressing yourself and sharing your opinions and experiences with others.
Whatever type of writing you do, what’s important is that you keep your articles fresh and updated. After all, no one wants to read about old subjects rehashed a hundred times. And whether you’re a blogger or a journalist, you’ll have to make sure your articles offer real value to your readers. Otherwise, people won’t consider your work worthy of their time. Blogging and journalism may be two different things entirely, but that doesn’t mean one is more valuable than the other. And while blogging isn’t likely to replace journalism even in the digital age, it has certainly earned its place in writing history.