Are bloggers journalists? Can journalists be bloggers, as well? Many people believe that journalism is more of a passive consumption matter, whereas blogging is interactive engagement.
Our tutor in University of Sheffield, Bill Carmichael, gave a quite interesting lecture about this matter last week.
|Citizen or professional journalism?|
So, what do bloggers and journalists do?
- They both publish.
- They analyse items in the news
- They try to put things into context
- They comment
Journalism and the notion of fairness
In order to answer whether or not blogging is journalism, we should think what journalism is for:
First of all, a journalist should be trained - it doesn't apply to all countries, though.
Secondly, a journalist verifies information and checks sources. This is crucial. Once the material of a journalist will be considered as 'invalid', the success will be ruined.
Thirdly, the story should be portrayed from different points. This is what is called 'a different angle'. There are two sides to every story and the notion of fairness dictates that we give both sides a fair track of the whip.
Finally, journalists should be objective, impartial and fair. They adhere to professional codes of conduct like PCC.
Do bloggers use all the above?
Usually no, but it has to do with the different nature of blogging, not with the fact that is 'invalid' or 'unfair'.
Citizen journalism is a social phenomenon that gives people - not necessarily professional journalists- the opportunity to express themselves in a democratic environment.
Bloggers have no professional codes of conduct and usually they don't feel obliged to give the opposite side of the story. This makes sense, because bloggers' priority is the publication of their thoughts, not the sales.
Personally, I believe that anonymity has also contributed to the expansion of this democratic tool. People don't express themselves openly when they know in advance that they will be criticised for that. So, they choose the way of anonymity to state openly what they think about politicians, media, businesses. Anonymity focuses on what is said and not by whom.
However, the grass is not always green on the other side. There are incidents, where anonymous people post inappropriate content including extreme opinions, blackmails and threats. This is the negative side. The solution should be somewhere in the middle.
To return to where I began, blogging and journalism are close to each other. I can't really answer whether or not they are independent or if the one includes the other but freedom of expression, interactivity and involvement with readers should be promoted in a democratic society, either it is in terms of newspapers (journalism) or publication of personal conclusions (blogs).