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Blogging is no longer a new concept in the area of information distribution. The debate of how blogging is changing the publishing world is one that ebbs and flows like the tide. Blogs have been incorporated into every aspect of our media, with many companies, as well as news reporting sites, incorporating blogs in their regular format for sharing information. While blogging seems to be interwoven into the world of journalism, there is still the question as to what truly constitutes a blog versus a news article.
The definition of journalism has been evident from its inception. Journalists know that their jobs are to report the facts as they happened from a reliable factual source. The writing is structured in a way that a reader can get the most relevant data in the first few lines of writing. The facts are meant to be indisputable based on the sources and the unbiased nature of the reporting.
Blogging has never been that cut and dry. A Swarthmore student by the name of Justin Hall created the first blog in 1994. The blog, links.net, was not much more than an area to exchange information. Hall later became a freelance journalist focusing on the internet and gaming culture.
Information is actually what both blogging and journalism have as their foundation. What starts to separate the types of information is structure. When blogs began, anyone with an internet connection and an opinion could start a blog. While there is still the ability that anyone with a computer and internet connection can post their views online, there are far more reliable blogs than there once were.
There are a wealth of trusted journalists, who have well-established blogs that differ significantly in style and format. Blogging has changed considerably since its inception. There are a variety of blogs written by experts, or those considered to be subject matter experts, who can provide authoritative opinions. Bloggers and journalist can be one in the same. The primary difference is when a writer is blogging; they can expose more of themselves in the information they disseminate. Blogging allows the writer to do away with the traditional convention of news journalism. The standard rules of following the inverted pyramid of putting the most relevant facts at the start of the story is no longer a construct when blogging.
Journalism has always had a variety of forms from investigative news to opinion pieces by experts. News reporting, however, has always been defined precisely as such. It provides details and allows the reader to form their view of the facts.
Blogging also has a variety of styles from entertainment to informational. Blogging, however, can catch a reader and speak to them on a personal level, almost helping them either digest or process information through the writer. Whether the writer is a voice of authority in either case only matters if the reader trusts the source of the information.
Looking at top sources of information dissemination, you will see everything from the “New York Times,” which is a historical source of news and investigative reporting; to the “Huffington Post,” which mixes current events with opinion almost seamlessly. Both of these publications are sources of authority; they provide new information in a why that their readers trust and understand. It is more likely that a “Huffington Post” reader will find a “New York Times” story there as opposed to the Times’ website. Blogs like the “Huffington Post” purchase news from Associated Press and Reuters to help make their content robust. Reading many original articles from “Huffington,” one will find the journalistic structure not as commonly used.
Comparing these two publications is important in the discussion of whether an authoritative voice is all that is needed to separate journalism from blogging. These two publications show the variety of how an authoritative voice can differ. Both of these sites have an authentic voice and are trusted by millions as a reliable source of information.
Blogs have expanded beyond just angry rants by bored coffee drinkers in Starbucks, to sources for news, marketing and instruction in addition to entertainment. Blogs are not beholden to any particular manner in which to behave. There are always the tabloid types of publications that are guilty pleasures for the masses. Sensationalized and poorly sourced information has always existed and will likely continue to be a part of the information distribution world. The type of stories a blog or news publication carries is subject to the audience they seek. These are the same facts carried across any product that exists in the world; the written word has this same weight of responsibility.
Blogging has become integral in our current constructs of sharing and distributing information. Whether it is considered journalism or not may likely become a moot point as time passes. Ultimately, blogs may simply be the Uber to a taxi, simply a different way of arriving at a destination.
Opinion by Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Leigh Haugh
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