A blogger writes a blog. A blog contains information, opinions, links and emotion.
A journalist brings life to factual occurrences. Presents actual, recorded history with zero subjectiveness. And yes, they act with an absence of malice.
Can a person be both? Of course. But not at the same time. In my opinion, blogger and journalist are mutually exclusive and any attempt to blur that line only results in that person losing the “journalist” label in favor of the “blogger” label.
I’ve been sitting on this for a bit and every time I see a blogger such as Michael Arrington or Marshall Kirkpatrick referred to as a “journalist,” my journalism degree loses a comma. But I watched as Chris Brogan (and, by association eMoms, 1938Media and others) get raked over the coals because he took a payment in the form of a gift card to put up a post whereby he, wait for it, gave away a gift card.
So, what is a blog? This is a blog. I make no attempt or representation that anything I produce is a fact. In all honesty, if I’m not writing pure opinion or heresay, then there’s no fun in that. My only “facts” are links to others who generally agree with my opinion and that is questionable at best.
A blog is a place where people share their experiences, opinions, dreams and failures. Sure, people can report on things and cover breaking “news.” But they are still blogs. They provide a second layer, which is analysis and opinion. This removes any chance of the label of “journalism” being applied.
Journalists and reporters do a great service to our society. I have worked as a reporter and have a BA in journalism, so you can guess where my bias leans.
Newspapers stay in business through advertising and that is the traditional source of income for bloggers as well. So, can online journalists survive this way as well? Of course. Google AdSense and other advertising platforms can provide an income (and let’s be honest, journalists make next to nothing. Full disclosure: my first reporting gig paid me <$19,000 per year. I got laid off after three months) and eliminate the need to participate in pay per post programs and paid reviews.
It is possible to be an online-only journalist. The posts follow journalistic ethics and attributes information and even includes quotes. But by inserting a subjective opinion, the writer eliminates the assumption of objectiveness. And this does everyone a disservice. But one thing is important to note, here — Journalists are real people. They have a brain, they know a ton of information and when they do share an opinion, a lot of respect and weight is behind it. Sometimes real people can’t contain their opinions and they leak out. Such is the danger with objective practices.
Journalism is an art, talent and skill. And I think that true journalism is fading away as more and more people move into content creation and blogging. I am all for people getting online and sharing their thoughts, opinions and distributing them. But do it under the auspices of blogging and not journalism. Please?