This question about blogging just keeps coming up. I’ve encountered it at least three times in the last month. I guess that’s a good sign that the topic should be addressed.
A lot of people seem to get blogging wrong. Companies get it wrong when they use their blog to simply publish their press releases. Individuals and companies both get it wrong when they turn off comments or otherwise fail to engage the reader.
Way back when I started this blog I addressed the question of What is a Blog? I posted a stack of definitions for blogging at the time, and most of them are still valid. The one I like the best, however, is that blogging should be thought of as a conversation.
The conversational nature of blogging is what sets it apart from journalism (or just about any other type writing, for that matter). When compared with a traditional news article (and most other types of nonfiction writing), a blog post is subjective and usually represents the author’s personal opinion and/or experiences.
In contrast, news articles should strive to objective. News articles are also based on investigative reporting rather than personal experience.
While a blog may present a reaction to news, the majority of blogs do not publish news. (I say majority because 1)I haven’t read every blog that’s out there 2)there is a very small handful of blogs that do engage in investigative journalism.) Even most news blogs are simply publishing a reaction to the news.
Of course, the subjective nature of blogs doesn’t mean that people don’t or can’t learn from blogs. If you are reading a credible blog from an experienced individual, you are likely to learn quite a bit. However, it’s still important to remember that blogging is subjective and even the best blog is only as good as its author.
So, my answer to the question of whether or not blogging is journalism is this: not usually.
What’s your opinion about blogging and journalism? Do you think there’s a difference? Why, or why not?