The differences between journalists and bloggers are larger than most of us would like to admit. Not all journalist, however, are created equal, as are not all bloggers.
In general though, journalists are perceived to be professional, they tend to have a code of conduct, most of them have studied journalism, and above all, they have been doing this for much longer than bloggers have. Bloggers on the other hand are perceived to have no rules, no code of conduct and tend to live in a ‘anything goes’ world with few, if any rules. This is one of the reason journalists don’t take bloggers or their online life seriously.
I am a blogger, but certainly no journalist. I am a photographer too, but definitely no photo journalist. I like to write and I like to take photos, but don’t see myself as a journalist or want to be seen as one. I have a blog and like to write on subjects that interest me. Blogging I do in my spare time and don’t use it as a way to earn a living. It is in addition to, or to compliment everything else I already do. All bloggers, however, are not like me and don’t need to agree with me.
What is true though, is that bloggers and blogging are driving the online revolution. In doing so they are leaving journalists in their wake. Bloggers understand the online medium, and they know how to use it to generate revenue. This impact, online has on offline can clearly be seen in articles such as “Last Call. The end of the printed newspaper” written by Clay Shirky on Medium.
There’s a difference between writing for offline and writing for online, because the reader’s behaviour is different online compared to offline (The difference is a discussion for another time). Journalists don’t mind having their articles or stories also published online. However, for some reason, they don’t seem to want to write for online only. Perhaps they fear how they might be perceived once they do. Heaven forbid they be called a blogger.
In my view there’s a misperception with value. A printed article in black and white, is perceived to be worth more than the same article in digital form. It could stem from the fact that newspapers as a whole still do not know how to generate revenue from online or digital content. Perhaps it is because we, as humans, value something more when we can feel or touch it? Whatever the reasons, current figures show that not only are users moving online, advertising spend is also moving online. Perhaps it is time for journalists to do the same, because bloggers could surely use the help to drive online forward with better journalistic content. But in the end, journalist are in need of a new medium.
I asked several reporters, editors, and scholars what journalists should do to get ready for the next wave of firings. There were three strong consensus answers: first, get good at understanding and presenting data. Second, understand how social media can work as a newsroom tool. Third, get whatever newsroom experience you can working in teams, and in launching new things. – Clay Shirky