Are bloggers journalists?
This debate continues to simmer as the traditional news-gathering industry undergoes a painful period of rapid evolution.
The answer to the question “are bloggers journalists?” can be answered by flipping the question on its head:
In an era where journalists increasingly write for digital versions of their newspapers (many of which have cut delivery to a handful of days per week or eliminated it completely)- publishing news DIRECTLY to the web without editorial oversight on every single story: are journalists bloggers?
Yes. And vice versa.
Journalism is an activity, an ethic, a philosophy. Historically it’s been bound by certain physical trappings: the masthead of a newspaper with a large circulation, rumpled oxfordcloth shirts, and thin spiral-bound notebooks. No longer.
Even the structural and social components that used to define journalism have changed:
- Editorial Layoffs: Over the past decade hundreds if not thousands of editors have been dismissed from their papers and magazines (particularly at the local level). In many cases, journalists are now publishing content directly to the newspaper’s website without an editorial filter applied to every individual story.
- Public Perception: The public’s esteem for the news media has plummeted in recent years. In 2011 the percentage of people surveyed by the Pew Center for the People and the Press who said that the news media “Get the Facts Straight” was 25 percent – down from 55 percent in 1985.
- Reach: The strength of the traditional news media is its reach. Or at least it was. Unfortunately newspaper circulation has declined precipitously. So has TV news viewership. So has magazine circulation. So has radio listenership. It’s important to note that this has taken place at a time when the public is consuming more news than ever.
If you’re a blogger that subscribes to a code of ethics and strives for honesty and integrity – you’re a journalist.
If you’re a journalist that publishes your content electronically to a content management system – you’re a blogger.