I’m calling it. Bloggers are journalists.
What’s prompted this seemingly outrageous outburst on my behalf?
I’m so glad you asked. A couple of things really.
The first was reading about Eden Riley’s account of the Blogging and Journalism panel at the Melbourne Writers Festival.
This statement by Eden really got me thinking:
As a blogger, I have an internal entrenched bloggism against myself, that journalism is “proper” and blogging is … not. I hold hope that my (probably widely-shared) view will change. I hope that blogging will be an inherent and valued part of the new global media landscape.
Eden, I’m here to tell you what I told online journalism students at QUT yesterday.
I think blogging IS “proper”.
And I think blogging is an increasingly valued part of the new global media landscape. Especially this CHANGING global media landscape.
We are information hunters, gatherers and disseminators. Yes, we add a personal slant to this information dissemination – that’s the key to successful blogging – but how is that personal opinion sharing any different from a newspaper or magazine columnist? Or an editor writing a newspaper’s editor’s letter?
What I blog here on Styling You is not all that different from what I wrote and published in a weekly glossy newspaper magazine. The big difference is that I actually connect with my readers. My readers are not some marketing department-generated ideal.
They are real and they talk to you. And you talk back to them. It’s a conversation.
It’s a naive, mythical ideal that “real” journalists are out there working and given untold time to work on investigative pieces in the name of upholding truth. The truth is that a general newsroom journo will be fed a “story” list each morning by their chief-of-staff and asked to file said stories to fit allocated “holes” in a newspaper or time slots in a news bulletin.
Yes, journalists apparently work to a Code of Ethics but (from 20 years’ working experience) it’s pretty damn toothless – particularly if you are working for a commercial media organisation. If I had a dollar for every time the phrase “commercial consideration” was uttered in relation to including an advertiser in a story … I would probably be blogging poolside from a tropical island.
Conversely, since entering the world of blogging, it’s been my experience that bloggers by and large have amazing personal ethics which have translated seamlessly to their blogs.
The fact is the media landscape has changed and will continue to change. And it was in the context of this change that I was asked to lecture these online journalism students.
Every one of those students has a blog. They HAVE to blog as part of their course (snaps to the course organisers for that). Yesterday I urged them to continue their blog long after the last assessment has been handed in.
We are journalists, yes. But we are more than that.
As bloggers we are independent publishers.
We are the sub-editor, editor-in-chief, the advertising manager, the marketing manager, the circulation manager, pay roll, admin and the tea lady (I do tea very well in case you were wondering).
That’s one giant skill-set. A skill-set that will increasingly be in demand by traditional media organisations and new media organisations globally.
So, a student continuing to blog even when they don’t have to for their GPA definitely gives them an edge over a student not blogging.
A student blogging is continually “feeding” a living, breathing online CV. If they want to work in print media, I encouraged them to bring their best writing to the blogging table. If they want to work in radio, start podcasting regularly. If they want to be in TV, get vlogging.
You never, ever know who’s reading, listening and watching. Opportunities can come if you open yourself to them.
But beyond a blog being an online CV … each and every one of those seated in that lecture theatre could potentially build their own job from blogging.
It’s not a possible employment picture I painted 12 months ago to students in the same subject.
But the media landscape has changed. It IS possible now (I’ve blogged previously about the many ways to make an income from blogging and outlined these to the students present).
And it will become increasingly more so.
In light of the shocking news this week that a disgusting display of cyber bullying has seen Charlotte Dawson hopsitalised as a result of vicious personal attacks on Twitter, I also asked these students to think about whether blogging was for them.
It isn’t for everyone.
Blogging is personal, no matter how seemingly benign the topic about which you choose to blog.
As a blogger you share yourself, not just a story about someone else. If you have an opinion, not everyone will agree with it.
And in a sad, sad, sad indictment on society today, too many people are going beyond constructive criticism (or simply choosing to click away) when responding to a point of view in which they may not believe.
These cowardly, gutless gits see online as their bullying playground, buzzing around like wasps intent on stinging their prey with nasty words and personal attacks.
To them I send a timely reminder: there are REAL people at the end of your stings. Real people who deserve respect.
THE ROT NEEDS TO STOP.
Quite frankly, my late grandmother, who taught me at a very early age that if you haven’t anything nice to say to someone, don’t say anything at all, would be turning in her grave.
Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.
Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. The link needs to be to a post ABOUT BLOGGING (all others will be deleted). Please fill in the box where it says “name” like this: BLOG NAME: Blog post title. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.