It’s been a very long time since I’ve just sat down and had a chat with you guys so today I’m going to be doing another post chatting about some controversial issues. If you missed my last post where I did this you can find that here but for today I’m going to be focusing on just the one issue and this is my take on the following idea: are bloggers the new journalists?
What sparked this post is something that I read a while go on a popular blogger and youtuber. She’s quite a big name but I’m not going to name and shame here because this is purely my opinion but this blogger basically said that “Bloggers are journalists.” This is something that I really disagree with but before you slam me here’s my thoughts.
We are now living in what is dubbed the “digital age” bloggers are no longer people who simply share content or type words in an online diary, bloggers are now becoming influencers with people across all ages and genders tuning in to read a review. Thanks to the joys of commercialism marketers and public relations professionals are now outreaching to bloggers. Bloggers typically have a more personal tone, rather than producing content in a formulaic fashion. Bloggers share opinions rather than writing pure fact, bloggers build relationships with readers and as a result for brands it is desirable to reach out to a blogger and access a large readership and following. Now I am in no way slating bloggers, as a blogger myself and as someone who works within the marketing and PR industry I too believe that bloggers are valuable especially as the journalism industry has lost a lot of trust with the public following scandals such as the Leveson Inquiry.
I do believe though that there is a separation between bloggers and journalists, as someone who studied journalism at degree level there’s so much that journalists need to understand and so many rules that journalists must follow that you might not have imagined. For a start there’s a lot of training, a degree can get you a foot in the door but then most journalists will become NCTJ trained which means that they are accredited as a professional journalist. Journalists have a lot to learn and a lot of rules to follow and whilst on the surface it may seem the same it truly isn’t.
Looking at an overview of journalists I think that there’s a common misconception about how journalists work. Ultimately a journalist’s goal is to tell the truth and to produce that in a concise, formulaic fashion whilst abiding to ethical standards and media law. Whilst undertaking my degree there were so many things that I had to learn including:
Media Law (this includes Defamation, Fair Comment, Libel and Slander)
Court Law (There are so many rules when reporting on a trial and one slip up and you’re toast)
Shorthand – An entire blooming new language that enables you to produce a hundred words a minute by hand, we did this extra curricular and only went up to 4owpm and in my year there was only three of us who passed, shorthand is bloody well hard.
Voxpop – How to correctly interview someone and how to ask multiple people multiple questions at the same time.
Head and Sell – How to write a specific headline and how to package the content up to suit media purposes.
Journalists need to be able to sniff out news and then turn it into a full piece of content, usually within an hour time frame. They must be able to operate in a news room, deliver content at a fast pace before competitors and find valuable sources and true interviews and evidence to back up their story. Similar to writing an essay everything must be referenced and everything must be true. (That’s not to say journalists don’t have an agenda or try and put spin on their writing but the original idea was to become a truthseeker.)
And so much more…The questions I’d like to ask you is that if you watched Grey’s Anatomy would you consider yourself a surgeon? If you created a cool thumbnail would you consider yourself an expert in graphic design?
If I’m honest it really pissed me off that someone honestly believed that they were so great that they were equal to a journalist. Journalists have a lot of issues within their industry but at the same time training to b a journalist takes a lot of time, it’s bloody hard work and there’s so much that you have to learn and for somebody who hasn’t undertaken that training to feel that they can skip those steps and suddenly become a journalist really annoyed me, it made me feel that all the training that I and other journalists had undertaken was irrelevant, just because it’s not something that journalists shout about it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened.
Bloggers as influencers
Personally I believe that it also takes a lot of work to become a blogger, I’m sorry but you need to be able to right at least semi-decent, if you can’t string a sentence together without making mistakes then your blog post will come across as jumbled. That’s not to say you have to be a pro but the blogs that stand out to me are the ones where the blogger’s voice really shines through or the writing style is so beautiful that I’m sucked into the post.
Of course there’s also the photography element, being able to plan a content calendar, knowing whichever industry you’re writing about, engaging with readers, cross promotion on social media, SEO and so much more. I think that bloggers are incredibly valuable and incredibly talented but ultimately bloggers and journalists are two separate things, a journalist is not a blogger and a blogger is not a journalist!
Influencers though is something different, I do believe that bloggers make better influencers than jorunalists. Although a newspaper might have more numbers, a blog is much more targeted with their topics and as a result the readership tends to consist of people who are genuinely interested in a blogger’s content. Being able to talk about a product in such a genuine way that readers actually want to go and buy it is pretty incredible, bloggers and influencers are shiny stars on the internet and it’s no surprise that so many brands want to connect with bloggers.
Overall I love being a blogger and whilst I have completed my degree I wouldn’t consider myself a journalist (I’m not NCTJ accredited and I’m now in a different industry). I can appreciate a brilliant news article and I can appreciate a great blog post but in my opinions, bloggers and journalists are seperate entities and we both have separate purposes.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and if you did please hit the like button, let me know in the comments what you think of this (be nice please) I’d love to hear your thoughts and hopefully nobody is offended at this post because it’s not meant in an offensive way!
Thanks for reading.