the top 10 differences between bloggers and journalists

But first, the disclaimer:

I know blogging isn’t trying to be journalism, and I know every blogger does not fancy herself a journalist. Clearly, I feel that blogging is less dignified than other media (which is why I do it), but I also understand it’s not a competition and the distinction is somewhat blurred, so it’s really just a moot point.

But just so we’re clear and so no none of you pragmatists piddle on the carpet because you think I’m being all nit-picky and idealistic, it’s the bloggers feigning a sense of journalistic duty in their daily oatmeal postings who irk me to no end, and who I am snarking on here today. Most of you know what I’m talking about, so I won’t harp on it. (And if you don’t, you’re lucky.)

On with the show:

10. Journalists know the difference between libel and slander. Bloggers use the term slander when referring to written content, and libel when referring to likelihood. Example: I was slandered by a popular ladies’ magazine; My smoothie was libel [sic] to spill right over the top of my bowl!

9. Journalists proudly uphold a fierce standard of integrity by not accepting free gifts or swag in exchange for an article (or they have no integrity; they just don’t want to get fired). Bloggers scarf up every free protein powder and compression sleeve that arrives on their doorstep; participating brands are rewarded with a glowing “review.”

8. Journalists are alcoholics. Bloggers have eating disorders. (And if you’re questioning which one has more dignity, clearly, it’s alcoholism.)

7. Journalists do research and report facts. A blogger will fake knowledge on a subject or rely on readers to fill in the blanks. Also, if you’re a blogger, asking your Twitter friends for anecdotal evidence totally counts as “research.”

6. A journalist plays the role of a neutral and detached third party. A blogger is only too happy to insert her personal opinion into the subject matter (along with a melodramatic self-portrait that is meant to provide an illustration of the subject matter.)

5. A journalist feverishly works a deadline, researching multiple stories at once. A blogger will insert a photo or inspirational quote in place of actual content.

4. Journalists use AP Style. Bloggers make up words.

3. Bloggers can make a sentence go on for three paragraphs, bury the lede, not even have a point, and still receive critical acclaim due to a strategically posted photo of a celebrity. (Actually, I believe this is also the policy of USA Today.)

2. Journalists fact-check, proofread, and print retractions when errors are made. Bloggers go, “I knew that. I was just tired!”

1. Journalists are overworked. Bloggers are overprivileged.


44 thoughts on “the top 10 differences between bloggers and journalists

  1. Heh heh heh. Right on, especially #7. My personal irk: bloggers who avow a lack of expertise on a given topic (foam rollers) and then write a seven-paragraph pseudotutorial on that some topic.

  2. I just got a lady boner for you. Best blog post I’ve read in months. You’re libel to make me piss myself.
    (I figgered the commenting out. I real smart.)

  3. When I was a working journalist I made up the word “crapsterpiece.” I should have known I was destined to be a blogger.

  4. OMG, I can’t believe you’re being such a h8r. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”- Mark Twain

    Now please excuse me while I go blog about how I will never look like a supermodel but will nevertheless whine endlessly about my efforts to lose weight.

  5. Oh, I love this. In regards to #2, bloggers write from the heart. Doh! Of course they cannot be bothered with proper grammar. Not like those journalists who just don’t have the passion. Oh, and bloggers can freely delete any idiotic statement they make. Apologies? Retractions? Not in the blogger (very very limited) vocabulary.

  6. Let me first comment on the fact that I cannot hear someone say the phrase “moot point” without thinking of that clip from Friends. Sometimes I even say “moo point” hoping for a giggle, but I think most times people just assume I’m an idiot when I say that. Whatever.
    Secondly, does this mean I have to skip lunch and stop drinking so much? I don’t want to blur the lines here.

    • oh my GOSH I do the same thing. when moot was linked I KNEW (hoped) what it was before going there…

      I also say moo sometimes… and rarely get the payoff… perhaps one day we will come across each other and can appreciate it. 🙂

  7. Ha! I’ve been both a journalist and a blogger – and both at one time! Does that mean I was an overworked, over privileged, drunk with an eating disorder? 😛

  8. Love this. It’s my pet peeve that bloggers write first, research after. Oh, but you forgot that if a journalist is questioned or makes an error, they usually address it in an editorial. Bloggers will just let their white knights attack you in their comment section.

  9. You forgot the biggest one. Journalists know how to accept criticism with dignity and tact. Bloggers send ‘white knights’ to assault the critical commenter, and delete any comment that isn’t full on ass-licking.

  10. Hmmm, I’m a journalist and a blogger so that would make me overworked, overprivileged, an alcoholic, eating disordered, someone with integrity and likely to get free stuff… sounds good to me!
    I love that use of the word “libel”…

  11. I’m a journalist and a blogger too, and agree with all of these!! I’ve had many late nights in a pub with my fellow reporters getting into heated debates over the journalism vs. blogging thing. One thing to add:

    Journalists have editors, bloggers don’t. Sometimes it’s nice to have a second pair of eyes look at your work before you publish it and say “Are you reeeeally sure you want to phrase it that way?” As a blogger, I often wish I had an editor to look at my stuff before others see it. But at the same time, it can be one of the perks of being a blogger!

    Oh and #9. That’s always been a point of contention with me. Accepting free stuff is a fine line, one I don’t think a lot of bloggers understand.

  12. OMG YES! I am romantically in love with this post and SO GLAD I found your blog! Ahh. I’m with Susan — I hate that it seems like most bloggers will accept anything free, regardless of the reputation of the company, and give it a positive review, even if it’s a crappy product. I’ve bought some products based on bloggers’ reviews and been horribly disappointed, and it really kills their credibility for me.

  13. This made me smile and I’m a blogger. I have no problem with bloggers not doing everything journalists do, but it bothers me when bloggers don’t realize there is a difference. Especially when they think they are ‘entitled’ to certain things because they are like journalists, but don’t want to actually do the work that comes with it. I think the sad part is I am not sure there is much incentive to be a journalist anymore. It was originally my major in college, but I will admit that when I looked at the # of hours I would have to put in and how long it would take to work my way up vs. the pay, it just didn’t seem worth it.

    • Same! I chose my major while I was still in high school and didn’t really know jack about the industry. I was an intern and then a reporter for a while after college; luckily I got out before things really went downhill but I saw a lot of friends working for beans, jobs being consolidated, people getting laid off. Not pretty. Most of the reporters I knew are no longer reporters!

  14. Pingback: what I’ve been up to whilst not blogging | Cheaper Than Therapy

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