What’s the first thing a person does in the morning? The most popular answer would be to get on their phone to check the news. Turning on the TV or browsing a newspaper is no longer the primary way to get news from professional journalists. Today, social media is the go-to medium for many people. In fact, a 2021 survey from Statista reported that 43 percent of Millennials receive their news from social media platforms.
Using our social media timelines to check the news is very convenient; however, the major caveat is verifying who’s reporting the information. The lines between someone who’s a journalist versus a blogger is blurry. The blurriness can create hesitancy in the reader – how can they determine if the news shared to the public is accurate and reliable?
If you’re unclear what differs journalists from bloggers in this social media age, keep reading to learn more!
What is the role of a journalist?
Firstly, it is important to know how journalism and blogging differ. The American Press Institute defines journalism “as the activity of gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities.”
A degree isn’t required for someone to call themselves a journalist, unlike in the medical or educational field. It is, however, encouraged. College can help you learn the best practices and procedures for reporting news. It’s also an opportunity to get internship experience to help you land a job at a media company or publication.
People in this field are held to ethical standards when reporting, which the Society of Professional Journalists outlines. The standards include always attributing sources, avoiding conflicts of interest, and giving a voice to the voiceless. Journalism encompasses more than politics or local news as well. Other areas of coverage that reporters research and explore are food, business, religion and crime.
Journalists often report solely on one to three specialized areas of public interest. This is commonly referred to as beat reporting. Every day, reporters are expected to live out these practices to maintain trust and credibility within the general public.
How do bloggers differ from journalists?
Law Insider offers a simple definition for blogging. It is “someone who writes content or appears in videos for an online blog.”
A blog could involve having a website with your own domain name. Many bloggers today, however, use social media platforms to create and share content with their following. Similar to journalists, bloggers also focus on covering specific topics such as fashion, entertainment and health and wellness.
One of the main differences between journalists and bloggers is the tone and writing voice used in the piece. The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) notes blogging is less formal than traditional news reporting. The casual writing allows bloggers to write in first person without fear of coming across as extremely biased. On the other hand, journalists should avoid this in their reporting.
The ICFJ adds that bloggers have more leeway to publish speculation or unconfirmed news unlike a traditional news outlet. The leeway, however, could result in legal action being taken against the blogger. That’s why accuracy should always be the top priority whether you’re a blogger or journalist.
Ultimately, work published by people in the media world dominates our timelines and keeps us informed. It is necessary though to stop and really consider who’s behind the reporting before you share any article or piece of content as you’re scrolling!