Journalists vs Bloggers: How not to do it.


I enjoy good writing.

I enjoy strong investigative writing that gets to the heart of a topic and delivers home truths with respect to its audience, its subject or whoever deserves it more.

I love writers who cover news quickly and to the highest standards of verification, I love writers who labour over extended features that drill into the depth of a topic or its breadth. In tweets, in print, in long form, in NIBs, writing that meets a standard deserves our time, respect and support.

Some people learn a lot of these lessons academically, others experience the academia to gain a grounding but like most who train in a vocation, are really formed once they hit the ground running in their profession. Others cut to the chase and write without that but have the instincts and motivation — and the understanding — to know what’s required at the highest standards.

Some writers gleefully subvert those standards, drafting headlines that ask questions, throwing sentences together just to get a thought out and communicating effectively despite compromising some of the ‘rules’ that have come to govern the language. For better or worse, even through muddled text, a point can shine through.

I love all this writing.

We all know that yes some writers publish undeclared articles for money and yes some suck up to the brands they write about or are using their writing as a route to financial involvement with them. Others hack phones and bribe cops. All interesting topics.


But I don’t think it’s particularly constructive for the old guard to casually throw out the idea that a “crucial difference between bloggers and professional journalists” is that the former don’t “understand their obligation to their listeners and viewers” versus interested parties they cover.

Or to say most bloggers are waiting enviously for their moment in the spotlight where they become a real honest-to-God journalist if only they were good enough.

Check out the full conversation in the Storify below — interested in hearing more peoples’ thoughts about this, maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.



Storified by Max Tatton-Brown · Thu, Aug 09 2012 14:57:34

Oracle and Google are ordered to reveal paid bloggers <– oversimplified comment at the end by @TCHLMax Tatton-Brown
(Comment shared below but click through and read the article, it’s really interesting to media stuff.)

Tim Luckhurst, professor of journalism at the University of Kent, said the case flagged up a wider concern he had about the way some writers operated.


“One of the key aspects that this highlights is the crucial difference between bloggers and professional journalists,” he said.


“Journalists are professionals who understand their obligation to their listeners and viewers – not the interested parties about which they are writing. Many bloggers ignore that distinction.”

@MaxTB Oversimplified? My comment goes to heart of problem without purporting to be the whole story. If you disagree argue, don’t insult.Tim Luckhurst
@TCHL I did. I think its an oversimplification to call that a crucial distinction between bloggers and journos.Max Tatton-Brown
@TCHL And I think your comment in the article verges closer to being a lazy insult through that oversimplification.Max Tatton-Brown
@TCHL If you fancy chatting in more detail about it then we can move to Google+ — 140 chars doesn’t quite suit proper discussion like this.Max Tatton-Brown
@MaxTB I’ll politely decline your invitation. Thank you anyway.Tim Luckhurst
@TCHL Literally any time – the nuances of bloggers vs pro journos is an interesting and fast-evolving subject.Max Tatton-Brown
@MaxTB @TCHL The nuances are invented by aspirants who yearn to work as professional journalists but lack the ability.Tim Luckhurst
Wow. Had some good chats with @Nero and @Wadds on the back of it but as I mentioned to Tim, no interest in trying to squeeze something so interesting into 140 char bites. Maybe another time.

Can only hope the same thing is to blame for Tim’s glib and concerning tweet above #politehandwringingover