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Musing: The Difference between Journalism and Blogging

For various reasons I have been mulling over the difference between Journalism & Blogging as I consider myself as doing both as different times. [1]

Some people might know that I write at NetworkComputing.com and ocassionally for other mainstream publications. In this guide, my writing tends to approximate journalism because I’m writing for a site that expects solid, plain, unbiased and mainstream content. I take extra care to be correct, to refrain from overdone topics and keep explanations reasonably simple.

At my technical blog, I have a very different writing style. I can fully express my own views and opinions, tackle complicated technical topics and take a specific view on a given topic. I don’t have to be balanced or reasonable when the topic doesn’t need to be.

I’ve been contemplating the difference between these two roles and think I’ve come up with a view. Why bother ? Because I often work with ‘marketing professionals’ who haven’t encountered blogging or social media. It’s not part of their worldview, and it’s necessary to integrate with their thinking.

Journalism is about content and objectivity, Blogging is about information and subjectivity.

At EtherealMind.com I can share information with other people. I can assume that the reader has a background in networking and I can move into complex topics at will. I don’t need to explain core topics or key knowledge in networking technologies. As a journalist I need to carefully develop a topic and explain any new precepts or topics. While this might reach a wider audience, I see this as content that contains a limited amount of information. And readers at expect this style of balanced and fair reportage will inherently in place. This is the product that traditional media chose to bring to market. Opinions are rare and usually carefully managed.

At EtherealMind.com I can freely express a view or opinion. After all, it perfectly acceptable to evaluate a technical solution or product and then make a recommendation about this. All such opinions are based in experience and knowledge to some extent but ultimately, I’m making a subjective point based on my current skills and research and these may not be comprehensive. And readers expect exactly this. Since a blog is usually written by one person it’s clear that this one persons view and is to be expected.

So that’s my current view. Blogging is about providing information and subjectivity with a splash of passion. Journalism tends towards content and objectivity which suits a certain type of audience.

Postcript: Compare this with Analysts, who are attempting to provide information and objectivity which is, by definition, impossible. And further complicated by the fact that analysts derive payment from both end users and vendors for the work they perform. That’s a topic for another day.


  1. I still don’t have a solid view on whether podcasting could be mapped into a traditional mode of media either. For example, TV or Radio are for immediate consumption and, generally, the content is of no value after a few weeks. Whereas podcasts can have a very long tail when the information can be used in the future. For example, Packet Pushers gets about 60–70% of downloads in the first four weeks, and the over time downloads will continue. This is more congruent with how trade magazines were used before websites replaced industry specific publishing.  ↩

Comments

  1. You hit the nail right on the head with this post, Greg. Very well stated. I know you and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, and I think that’s always simply been that we simply don’t share the same preferences when it comes to journalism/blogging/etc.