Journalism vs. Blogging: The Great Debate

The first handful of readings we have done this far focus strongly on the differences between journalism and blogging as well as how mass media has developed with the development of the internet. They discuss how journalism has transformed as a discipline over time as well as how blogging has become more common even among larger news companies.

The Current State of Media

Now, more so than ever, media has become hugely mobilized. No longer is there a strong need for the 6 o’clock news because people can now get their news and other media information whenever they want. What started with the use of Tevo and the internet has even further expanded to where now any information is available to you at the click of a button. As media has expanded more and more, people are involved in putting out stories that can be considered news. Blogging has become a popular outlet for everyone from celebrities to the girl sitting next to you in class.  This means that there is now a plurality of perspectives. You can now get your information from a number of different sources who have different perspectives as well as different processes for how they present their information. The combination of these two things has led to a power shift in media. The article “From Bards to Blogs” by Jill Walker Rettberg hints at this by saying, “Just a few decades ago, our media culture was dominated by a small number of media producers who distributed their publications and broadcasts to large, relatively passive audiences.” The idea of the passive audience being molded by new technologies and media into an active and involved audience is something that many of the readings address. Rettberg continues by saying, “We have moved from a culture dominated by mass media, using one to many communication, to one where participatory media, using many to many communication, is becoming the norm.” Where as the media used to be fully in charge, now it is much more focused on what the reader/ consumer actually wants to see. The consumers opinions now have much more control and in some ways help to decide what the media is going to put out. This is the reason for so many of the “soft” news pieces we see today.

What’s the Difference?

Journalism

The first main difference between journalism and blogging is that journalism is seen as a profession. Being a journalist is a precise discipline that requires schooling to learn, understand, and become certified. It is a one way conversation that is much more institutionalized than blogging as everything relates back to some larger news corporation. There is a specific methodology to how journalism is researched and presented. This methodology is directly related to the journalist job to stay objective and present only factual, unbiased information. It is important to remember that as humans they still cannot be completely objective, but they can only hope to be by following an objective method which includes: telling the truth, not adding information, original reporting, and a transparency of motives. While most all of the articles talked about honesty the article “The Journalism of Verification” by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel discussed the ideas of transparency is journalism the best. They said, “Transparency… signals the journalist’s respect for the audience. It allows the audience to judge the validity of the information, the process by which it was secured, and the motives and the biases of the journalist providing it.” This is especially important now in the newly developing world of journalism to ensure that the foundation of truth still holds strong against the common misinformation on the internet. One of the main ways they can do this is by persuading through facts, direct quotes, and an authoritative public record. Journalism is all about directing our attention to things going on around us that we should care about and remain informed on therefore it is still an extremely important academic discipline even giving our changing media environment.

Blogging

A stark contrast to journalism is blogging. Blogging is typically not institutionalized as it normally comes from a single person writing their own thoughts and opinions. One of the great things about blogging is that anyone can do it, so you have so many people who can get out their completely subjective opinions on whatever they so choose.  A main difference between blogging and journalism is that blogging is heavily focused on entertainment and does not have many strict limitations. This is best described in the article “Blogito by Brian Carroll that says, “Most blogs are single voiced narratives made up of mostly brief posts that blend fact with personal opinion, but there is nothing about the form that predicates these norms.” They have no obligation to bring you unbiased information nor must is follow a strict methodology, so you get a lot of blogs that are centered on niche topics or subjects. This allows for bloggers to build communities or networks in a sense of different people that all share the same interest.  Since blogging is an open two way conversation through the author and the reader, it lends itself to a much more relaxed and personalized environment. A blogger is able to persuade through their expertise on a subject as well as there voice. A blog easily becomes an extension of that person so the more the reader feels they can can connect to your ideas and opinions the better off you are. Blogs tend to cover more of the things that people care about like celebrity gossip and fashion, but it is important to remember that cross over between journalism and blogs does exist.

The Overlap

As I mentioned, there is some overlap when it comes to writing and the job of the writer as both a journalist or a blogger. Most of this is addressed in the article “Digital Media vs. Analog Media” by Brian Carroll. He says, “The fact that writing appears on a computer screen rather than in a bound book does not diminish the writer’s need to be clear, concise, complete, and correct. Good writing is valued in web content as much as it is for any other type of content.” This is a point also brought up in many of the other readings where they discus the job of a writer in any circumstance and I’m sure will become even more relevant as we blog more throughout this semester.

 

Featured Image by FreePress found on Flickr.

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