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Blogging vs Journalism

This just in: ‘Blogging is dead. Long live journalism!’ A powerful piece in today’s Fast Company newsletter gives some interesting numbers on remuneration: it looks like bloggers are making some good salaries in the US, while journalists still continue to be retrenched. Which leads of course to the question: what constitutes ‘blogging’ as opposed to ‘journalism’?

“So here’s the radical suggestion: Let’s redefine what blogging means. If you’re writing self-absorbed or inexpert opinions about the minutiae of daily life, without hyperlinks, fact checks or any pretence at engaging with the news, you’re a blogger. You probably fall into the lower categories of pay in the Technorati survey if you in fact make any money at all. But if you’re a writer for an online publication, one that takes real-time stories, updates them as events unfold, reference your quoted facts, break stories and produce original writing then shall we just say you’re a journalist? An online one, but a journalist all the same.

“And when you maneuver your thinking in this direction, you come to a strange new conclusion: Journalists who write for online versions of their (perhaps historic, perhaps not) newspapers are the same as journalists who write for totally different online news portals. Even the Pulitzer committee has said online entities can consider themselves eligible for its prestigious prize, with some limitations.”

The part that surprises me is that journalists are surprisingly slow to see this potential. Or certainly many of those here in South Africa are, judging by a Southern African Freelancers Association meeting I attended recently, where the general whinge seemed to be: “it’s not fair. I don’t have time for all this social media stuff. I need to be paid for every word I write.”

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