Bloggers are gaining power all over the world; they have created their own communities and are excelling in different social media and networking media channels that in turn allow them to reach more and more people. This gain of status made bloggers a target for PR people to help promote different products/services/ideas.
A recent survey by PR agency Text 100 claimed that the majority of bloggers prefer to be treated as influencers rather than as journalists. While I don’t see the contradiction here – one doesn’t negate the other – I do understand why bloggers favor the influencing label. It implies power and spare them the hectic and liability that comes for being a journalist. But, I can also see why journalists as well aspire to becoming influencers. It is a privilege to be able to affect people in a way or another.
But who is really a blogger and who is a journalist? More journalists are having blogs of their own, and more bloggers – through their blogs – end up working as journalists for established newspapers/magazines. There are also people like Danny Sullivan, who is a self identified journalist who uses his blog as his publishing platform. Is it about publishing platforms? or about the way of writing and level of credibility?
We all know that journalism is a tough job. It is about trying to get it right every single time. There is a level of liability that defines being a journalist which is much higher than the one set for an average blogger. After all, a journalist usually represents, besides himself, an entire organization which has a unique image, policy and character to uphold!
That brings us to the question of: Being an influencing voice, how ethical it is for a blogger to get paid in order to post information? Some bloggers seek out some financial gain out of their own blogs, others need the money in order to support their blogging, but is this justified? Should every blogger mention clearly to his readers that he is getting paid to post specific information?
One aspect of blogging that people relate to the most is the personal and emotional take on things. It may not match the credibility of journalism, but it does catch our attention and stir our emotions. Yet, there are many things that blogger can learn from journalists in order to raise the level of their blog credibility and improve their blogging skills.
I like what Andrew Lih, an editor/administrator at Wikipedia, said about journalism: “To the prospective journalist: there is no better place to start researching a story than Wikipedia, and probably no worse place to stop and use as a final word.” – although Google seems to disagree.
Whether it is a joke, a fabricated story, a fairy tail, or a comprehensive coverage of a story, people like what they like. They want variety, and many opinions to pick which one makes the most sense. Social media and blog comments all allow readers to say their opinions aloud. So, if an article is pure rubbish, people will end up giving corrections, or mocking the writer/blog. So, does it really matter if you identify yourself to be a journalist or an influencer? Or maybe just a blogger with no other tags? What do you think?