Blogging vs. journal – the real deal

Dana Blankenhorn writes about the difference between blogging and journalism – it’s the business side of things:

That is, we look at the content from the writer’s point of view. Journalism looks at all content from the reader’s point of view.

This is no small point. You can see it clearly in examining the “blog journalism” companies which have found success—Weblogsinc, Gawker Media, and Paid Content. Jason Calacanis, Nick Denton and Rafat Ali all defined the readers they wanted, created a business model, then hired writers to fulfill the mission.

I’ve always known this – people blog about what they are passionate about and if someone reads it, all fine and good. The personal blogs that are popular lucked out in that they wrote about something that interested people. The problem with that analogy is that most bloggers don’t believe their blogs will be read. Seriously. And most don’t blog for business purposes – which kills Dana’s theory in the personal blogging arena.

So in truth, if a blogger is attempting to form a business around their blog and they aren’t considering their readers, then they have a serious flaw in their business plan. If a person is blogging because they have something to say, then they should blog about it and let people interact with them. People will find them eventually, even though most don’t seriously think so.

What to know the real difference between a blogger and a journalist? A journalist communicates in a static method, one-sided conversation type of way. For example, they have a column in a newspaper, they write for a magazine or they write for a website. In these mediums the reader reads the article and perhaps they might send an email voicing their opinions, but that’s about it.

A blogger has a blog that allows readers to communicate with the blogger and amongst each other. They generate conversation. A journalist has the potential to generate conversation but they don’t take part in the conversation because the tools aren’t there for that to happen.

Both have their place in society. In many cases the journalist plants the seed for the conversation and the bloggers take it and run with it. How many times did something appear in a major publication (written by a journalist), and a blogger writes about it, and sparks a debate? How many times did you see that same topic discussed on 20 different blogs?

Some journalists are bloggers. What I find interesting about these people is that they don’t usually spark much of a conversation on their blogs. For example Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing is both. At Boing Boing he’s a journalist. At CrapHound he’s a blogger. At Boing Boing he’d probably get flooded with comments. On CrapHound it’s eerily quiet.

That’s the difference between a journalist and a blogger. In my opinion one is no better than the other – they both have their place. Both have their bad seeds. Both have their stars. We need them both.