How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Blog

Blogging Uncle Sam

Blogging Uncle SamI originally wrote this for a class, but decided to publish it here. This is my call to action to journalists everywhere. Figure. It. Out.

Blogging. To a lot of journalists, this might as well be a four-letter word. To them, a blogger is some kind of annoying upstart that one can’t take seriously, but for some reason can’t help keeping an eye on.

Personally, as a recent graduate of the college of journalism at the University of Florida,  it seems most of my peers are working toward a career focused on reporting or editing at traditional newspapers and magazines. Hardly anyone sees blogging as a sweet career move or resume essential.

But they’re wrong.

Blogging is the natural, logical and inevitable progression for journalists in the 21st Century, and the time has come for us to embrace new technologies and forge our paths with them if we intend to flourish in a new era of communication.

Let’s face the facts. Traditional news sources aren’t doing so well. Newspaper lay-offs are high, advertising revenue and readership is down, and many small and local publications have been forced to fold.

The advent and mass adoption of the Internet has rendered these paper-based technologies obsolete. Even if some people cling to an emotional attachment to newspapers and magazines, future generations will only continue to familiarize themselves with web-based communications and will grow less and less attached to what is, essentially, a dying medium.

It doesn’t make sense for journalists to ignore the obvious. More and more people are spending more and more time online and are using it to learn things, watch videos, and expose themselves to ideas, happenings and opinions.

But just because newspapers are becoming obsolete, doesn’t mean journalism has to.

As information becomes easier to access, the need for reliable and credible information stays the same or arguably increases. What separates a journalist from the average person on the street is our dedication to providing the who, what, when, where and why as clearly and accurately as possible, from all angles and without bias. If the people are getting their information from the Internet, then it’s extremely important for journalists to get online and reach them there.

A lot of journalists see blogging as reporting without the skill level and ethical code, but if journalists changed their attitudes and started working within the blogosphere instead of against it, the people would recognize the difference in quality and respond accordingly. It is the job of modern journalists to bring the legitimacy of their profession to the new arena.

Journalists should accept the Internet as the most exciting responsibility they have. It gives a lot of room for someone to take control of their career. A great advantage of the online community is specialization. If a person wishes to report about science, politics, the environment, anything at all, they need simply start a blog and do it. Even without the backing of an established and respected publication, a reporter can use the Internet to get their stories and columns out to the public instantly.

With a blog, storytelling and presentation have the potential to become so much stronger. Instead of a simple, static page of words and pictures, blogs take advantage of integrating other media, such as video and audio, to bring readers more dynamic, informational and enjoyable coverage.

And the Internet brings with it greater potential for interaction between the news source and the public, as well as encourages interaction between the readers individually. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever for people to share the
information they find online, which both increases over-all readership for the source as well as benefits social discourse as a whole.

It’s an exciting time to be a journalist. More than ever before, a person can make a name for themselves independently of big name institutions and get themselves and their work out to the public.

The Internet is nothing to be scared of, and journalists shouldn’t look at blogs as the enemy, but rather as their own exciting futures. Every journalist should have a blog about something, because the more we start blogging, the more credible blogging will become. Journalism isn’t dead, but it will never be the same, and ultimately, that’s the best thing for it.

1 Comment

  1. Epic.

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