Bloggers vs Journalists and Who Cares

Not a JournalistInspired by this post by RichardatDell, I wanted to bring this out to you again: bloggers aren’t always journalists, and journalists aren’t always bloggers. Some of you don’t really care, and others of you care a little too much. But here’s the thing:

Journalists

Journalists, at least those who have received professional education and training, have responsibilities, have certain skills, and have certain inherent traits assumed about their conduct. The United States, as a nation, uses journalists to keep our government (and to a lesser extent, larger corporations) in check, by vigorously reporting their actions. It is assumed that journalists disclose their biases in specific reporting cases, and that they work towards reporting at least somewhat objectively.

***UPDATE: Just found this great article by Scott Karp about how journalists need to better understand the web. Thought it applied.***

Bloggers

Some bloggers tend to work with journalistic standards in mind. Others are trained journalists. Still more are professional journalists have come into blogging out of necessity.

And then there are the rest of us.

Plenty of bloggers, like me, just use this medium to write what we think and feel. You’ll note that my site is fairly light on “research” in the traditional sense. I read the bejeesus out of the blogosphere, but I don’t go out and research and ask three hundred people to answer surveys. I don’t attempt objectivity. I don’t attempt to be unbiased. I do disclose as often as I can or remember to do so. But I’m not a journalist.

I don’t want to be a journalist. I think they’re great people, some of them, and I respect them, some of them, but I sure don’t need to be a journalist to tell you what I think. I share. I inform. I query. But I sure don’t intend to represent anything as a journalist.

Who Cares?

There are times for journalists. I like that they’re out there keeping government and corporations in their sites. I’m hopeful that they continue to deliver value. I want them in our lives.

But I’m also excited for the velocity, the facility, and the ubiquity that bloggers bring to information sharing. I love that bloggers are abound, embedded in our communities, ready to share information at the drop of a hat. I’m grateful that there are networks of us sharing information, reposting information, and driving insight into the various corners of what we’re passionate about.

Without these millions of bloggers, we’d be missing some interesting things. Because we can take these tools to use for ourselves, we have a powerful opportunity to try new things, to learn about things that might be overlooked by others who are following different incentives than some bloggers have. Because of all this information, we have the ability to learn more, share faster, and discover new opportunities.

At times like that, I don’t care which hat you wear. Thanks for helping me find something interesting out there.

What do you think?

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    Last night I chose to unplug early, but before I did I read your blog and as I ritually do I wrote out my thoughts.

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    Some bloggers tend to work with journalistic standards in mind. Others are trained journalists. Still more are professional journalists have come into blogging out of necessity.

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    Some bloggers tend to work with journalistic standards in mind. Others are trained journalists. Still more are professional journalists have come into blogging out of necessity.

  • http://www.meratvforum.com Waleed Raza

    As both a freelance journalist and a blogger, I see the difference as sort of a Venn diagram, where all journalists can be bloggers but not all bloggers can be journalists. For me the difference is, as you alluded to, sourcing and reporting. I would never turn in a news story that I hadn’t reported, because most of the information about the story would be coming not from my own knowledge but from that of the people I interview directly and the research I do. I know there are bloggers out there who do a lot of research and interviews, but it’s not the norm, in my experience. Secondary sourcing usually seems to be perfectly acceptable, which I would be loathe to accept as a journalist or as the editor of a journalist.

  • http://www.meratvforum.com Waleed Raza

    As both a freelance journalist and a blogger, I see the difference as sort of a Venn diagram, where all journalists can be bloggers but not all bloggers can be journalists. For me the difference is, as you alluded to, sourcing and reporting. I would never turn in a news story that I hadn’t reported, because most of the information about the story would be coming not from my own knowledge but from that of the people I interview directly and the research I do. I know there are bloggers out there who do a lot of research and interviews, but it’s not the norm, in my experience. Secondary sourcing usually seems to be perfectly acceptable, which I would be loathe to accept as a journalist or as the editor of a journalist.