Oh how I wish I was able to go to this year’s #LuckyFABB event in L.A. Lucky for me, I’ve been able to feel like I haven’t missed out on many blogger conferences thanks to a steady stream of tweets pouring through my Tweetdeck. It’s my very own digest.
I’m sure there were lots of interesting points that came up but one that particularly caught my eye, and one I’ve seen circulating the net a few times, is whether bloggers are journalists and if they should be considered so.
I am first and foremost a journalist and a blogger second. So, I’m particularly drawn to this discussion. Here goes
Bloggers have many faces. Some of them resemble those of The Journalist. Some bloggers post pretty outfit photos with a sentence or two about their weekend. Some post DIY tutorials. Some post full-on reviews of a product or place they’ve been to. Some post news. And many post a blend of the above and more. That is the beauty in blogging, there’s something out there for everyone and just about everything.
That being said, my editor would never let me send her a post of the pretty flower pot I found over the weekend and call it worthy of magazine editorial. That doesn’t make blogging any less than journalism, it’s just different. The medium itself dictates that.
The journalist’s job is to tell a story, plain and simple. Usually through words, pictures, sometimes videos and other interactive elements. As a storyteller, your job generally involves plenty of research, interviews, discussion with your editor on ways to tell the story and how best to engage the audience. You’re talking to publicists, finding sources and then there’s revisions, revisions (and sometimes) more revisions.
“Bloggers are the New Editors”
Editors are style and content curators. When I was a full-time magazine editor, my job was to sift through a million pitches and pick my favorite things to feature. In that sense, bloggers really are much like editors. Their job is to find and feature the next great thing and cultivate a sense of style that people love to follow.
But a blog is your own publication, it’s your voice and you have creative control to write how you please and write about what you see fit. As a journalist, you adhere to the voice of the publication that you are writing for and their needs, not your own.
Online editorial doesn’t need to fulfill the same need as a print magazine does so the content you find online is naturally different. It’s more visual and more interactive because that’s what people crave.
Bloggers are also expected to be transparent in everything that they recommend and endorse. The FTC is now mandating this. Magazines, however, do not. In fact, there are TONS of publications that appease their advertisers by running “editorial” content. That luxury travel piece you’re reading about in your favorite magazine? The writer was likely hosted a stay there for free and doesn’t have to tell you (though that isn’t the case for every publication).
So there are some bloggers that treat their outlet like a publication and report like journalists. And there are some journalists who also blog. But not all are both because they are, in fact, two totally different animals and saying they are the same is a generalization.
There are many ways in which bloggers and journos are similar and different but, that would be more of a magazine article, and not a short snappy blog post, “wink wink”
I feel like this discussion most often comes up because bloggers are demanding more respect out of the work they do, the kind of respect a journalist automatically gets. And, I can see why: even though I couldn’t get a byline with the photo of the pretty flower pot, I’m not saying it’s not hard work to take those photos and share it…because it is. The industry is so new, some people still don’t know how to treat it. But it is hard work to make something look so easy, and that should be respected, like the work of journos is.
As a writer, I can say that one of the things I love MOST about blogs is how lovely they are in creating conversation. You can engage with your audience in a way you just can’t do offline. I wish I could get immediate feedback on a magazine story I poured my heart and soul into writing as quickly as I can a blog post.
So, let’s chat. Tell me, how do you feel about the Blogger v. Journalist debate?? Leave a comment below!