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Do You Think Bloggers Are Journalists?

Do You Think Bloggers Are Journalists?

One thing I absolutely love about being a blogger is the autonomy. No word counts. No editorial mandate. No rules. However, as blogs continue to grow as a seriously influential medium, do bloggers need to hold themselves to a higher standard?

According to Jocelyn Newmarch at Thought Leader: absolutely.

If you want to engage in analysis — which most Thought Leader bloggers do — you have to think critically if you hope to be taken seriously. Is your source reliable? If you’re relying on previous media reports for your analysis — which most bloggers do — is their view likely? Do you check your facts, in this case by checking how other people have reported on the same issue, especially as the post in question was likely to be emotive? How do you treat additional information which may change your analysis? Do you even consider it?

In my humble opinion, it all depends on the type of blog you are running. One thing, however, is certain: you should always tell the truth and be prepared to defend your post, regardless of your blog’s size.

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Do you consider bloggers journalists?

View Comments (12)
  • I know someone will want to shoot me for saying this…

    Personally I think most news bloggers are just amateur journalists. There’s a few strictly news blogs out there that do a good job, but unfortunately the majority of news bloggers still make stupid mistakes real journalists would never do. Maybe if they start holding themselves to a higher standard they will be, but currently they aren’t.

  • I think that this is a great open field for a serious discussions, importance of blogging is raising every day and so is the gap between “official” and “real.” This blogging era is a brand new start and opportunity for a kind of journalism that we never ha before.

  • Great article. I think bloggers are absolutely journalists, but more of a blend of covering issues journalists and opinion or editorial writers. The problem with just answering the question “yes” is that most bloggers fall into that category you described in the intro … no standards, no checks and balances, no editors and no one holding them to task for mistakes or oversights. However, anyone who offers an opinion or insight on a particular topic is, at some level, a journalist.

    The deciding factors for how credible that journalist is should be A) Balance and thoughtfulness in writing B) Size of audience and C) Transparency.

    By offering both (or multiple) points of view, research or citations to back up his or her opinion and admission or follow up when omission, oversight or mistakes occur, they are following general principles of journalism that hold the writing up to the skeptical litmus test. When a blogger does all this, the audience will follow as most blog readers are looking for alternatives to mainstream reports. And by being transparent, disclosing corporate relationships, biases, etc., the blogger then becomes more credible and believable.

    Ultimately, the degree of “journalism” each blogger possesses will vary, but in general, the higher the level of any of those three, the closer that particular writer is to practicing the craft.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion.

  • I’ve been pondering this question for awhile and still don’t have a clear answer. I’m beginning to believe that they are, but the things that keep me from committing to “yes” have been discussed in the comments so far.

    It does depend on whether the blogger is taking it seriously
    It does depend on the blog itself – is it just self-espousing musings, or trying to share news, information, or education?
    Blogging is a new form of journalism, and it’ll take time to shake out.

    Part of me hopes that bloggers will continue to break the mold – to not be able to be categorized, by being innovative and challenging the status quo.


  • A journalist is a storyteller, pure and simple. They gather the facts, organize them into something that others can read and understand. So in that sense, yes, bloggers are no different.

    Granted, the journalist is supposed to be more educated than the blogger in the ways of writing, so now it becomes a matter of quality and professionalism. However, those are characteristics of any job, so they don’t define one from the other, they just measure how good one is from the other.

    Another characteristic between the two is that the journalist is one who does this sort of thing full-time, the blogger, usually, is part-time. But still this distinction is not enough to say one is a journalist and the blogger is not — it’s just showing how much time they’re spending doing the same thing.

    By comparison, if I were to apply a bandage to my child’s wound, does that make me a doctor? We’re both doing the same thing, aren’t we? Yes, but that does NOT make me a doctor. There are tons of other things I’d be lacking in to practice medicine.

    I’m not belittling the role of the journalist. There are some great ones out there who take pride in what they do. But so do bloggers.

    Good topic!

  • As both a journalist and blogger, I’ve had a chance to see both sides of this question. Journalists are simply old-fashioned reporters dressed up with standards, as well as new technology, such as a camera or laptop.

    Bloggers, while they can be journalists if they ascribe to basic professionalism (such as reporting is not grabbing a press release, rewriting it and sticking your name on it), more comfortably fit in the slot of pamphleteer whose goal is to arose the public. Many pamphleteers throughout history have later become journalists.

    So, essentially, you are a journalist if you behave like a journalist.

  • In my opinion (as a blogger), being a journalist does not depend on the media that you publish on. A blog is yet another medium–just like a newspaper, magazine, TV or radio. Now whether a someone is a journalist or not depends not on the media that he publishes with, but on how he publishes and how he possesses the skills and uses the methodologies needed for what is considered real journalism.

    I know a handful of journalists who also publish blogs. So they are journalist-bloggers.

  • It should not matter much in differentiating the two types. The articles that both creates should be the basis to judge its quality, readership and relevance.

  • The problem with the question “are bloggers journalists?” is that it depends. I personally look at myself as a journalist on my blog but some bloggers I don’t see as journalists. I think it has to do with how personal the blog is and what you talk about.

    If you talk about technology news than I see you as a journalist, but if you talk about restaurants in your area, movies, music, tv shows, and how frustrated you are that your physics teacher gave you all of that homework, than you aren’t a journalist.

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