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.
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?
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.