Bloggers Vs. Journalists: The bitter rivalry is just heating up

In this day and age of radical new technology and the dying print industry, it seems like everybody wants a piece of the Internet. Personal blogs have become a way for ordinary people to communicate on a global platform what they think about a certain issue, and it seems like almost everybody has one. Statistics have shown that as of December 2013, 6.1 million Australians have a WordPress blog, 4.7 million are on Tumblr and 2.9 million have a BlogSpot blog.

Number of Blog users in Australia as of Dec 2013

Now that anyone on the Internet can create and run a blog, have the lines between journalism and blogging blurred? This ongoing rivalry against the two opposing forms of communication – essentially using the same platform and technique to convey their message – has been up for debate since the idea of “blogging” and “online journalism” was created. It also brings up the question whether bloggers with no formal journalistic training can call themselves journalists.

As a journalism student, my initial reaction to this was of course: “Hell no!” Bloggers didn’t go to University to study Journalism for three years under the stress of probably never gaining a job in the industry; they just sit at their computers all day drinking coffee and pretentiously writing reviews about the things they bought on ASOS.

But delving into it deeper, I discovered that as a journalism student I am also inevitably also *gasp* a blogger. I already use multiple blog platforms for all different aspects in my life. I have a blog where I post all the work I have written on other blogs, a so-called “personal blog” and a tumblr blog. But does this mean that I’m more a blogger than a journalist?

Copyright Flickr Image: ©levarwest

Copyright Flickr Image: ©levarwest

It is a common belief that journalists have more integrity and authority than bloggers do. We’re trained to tell the truth, to get our facts straight and to correct any misleading or false information. Furthermore, if we don’t abide by journalistic laws and guidelines, we can even go to jail.

So that raises the question: Do bloggers have the same integrity and consequences as journalists do? Arguably, prolific bloggers have the same influence over readers as online journalists do. They have the same ability to influence a reader’s views and if their information is invalid or misleading it can spread rumours or sway opinions. But this isn’t stopping the trend of bloggers becoming more influential than journalists.

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6 responses to “Bloggers Vs. Journalists: The bitter rivalry is just heating up

  1. Great post! Bloggers are definitely becoming more trusted as reliable sources. However, I find that most bloggers, while getting their facts straight, are still quite subjective in their writing.

    That said, maybe they deserve a little more recognition – often passionate and dedicated to their work (whether as a hobby or for revenue), bloggers play their own important role on the internet and shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed.

  2. What an interesting topic?! That’s one of the biggest questions isn’t it? Are bloggers reliable sources? I guess the biggest different between traditional Journalism and blogging is that journalism endeavours to write in a more objective manner; they provide the facts and seek to write in the interest of the public. Bloggers however, I have found, are more often than not subjective and seek to persuade perhaps rather than merely inform.

    At the same time shouldn’t we, as journalism students, encourage people to engage in discussions and form their own opinions about issues circulating around the public sphere? Perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss them but rather see them as contributing and enhancing arguments within the public sphere.

  3. I think it’s great that more and more people are getting involved with discussion of the important issues, and the internet is liberating in that it gives everyone the same soapbox. This also means there’s a lot of uninformed opinion disguised as journalism in the internet. Citizen bloggers just don’t have the same clout as journalists who’ve had to work hard to get to their position and whose main priority is to give the public the facts.

    I totally support bloggers who are good at what they do and happily name Tavi Gevinson, 17 year old founder of Rookie Mag, as one of my heroes. That being said, I definitely wouldn’t call her a journalist.

  4. Blogs are a great forum for public discussion, which is one of the essential elements of journalism. Of course we need to be always aware of the fact that some people out there might make things up or try to mislead us. But in an age of increasing commercialization and infomercials we can’t be sure everything we see or read or hear on traditional newsmedia is completely true or unbiased as well. Also is it a myth that journalists are completely unbiased. Oftentimes they are: especially when reporting about the non-western world. A journalistic production which seeks to explain a non-western – or indeed any unconventional point of view – is very rare.

  5. Jade I do agree that the lines between journalism and blogging are blurring. I too find it frustrating that bloggers consider themselves a journalist without any of the formal training. Yet having said that, I believe that a blog is a really useful tool for aspiring journalists to have the opportunity to publish their work and can even be a potential portfolio for them. Yet journalists will always have a higher level of credibility due to their training and experience and thus will always be more influential than bloggers.

  6. Hi Jade. You have written a thoughtful article that begs serious consideration. I agree with each of the comments above. Blogs are a convenient platform for us, as journalism, media, communications students to find our voice, writing style, and to practice our research and referencing. It is these last points that separate thoughtful, objective writing to the type of subjective speculative musings of a “passionate supporter”.
    One element of blogging that I think adds to the media landscape, and the public sphere more broadly, is that blogs are an excellent platform to return pluralism to reporting.
    One final note: established journalists have many, many sources in their little black books. In saying that, however, there has been a rise in the use of whole (or large parts of) media releases to write news columns.

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