To be or not to be a journalist, that is the question?

An email popped into my inbox this morning that got me thinking. It was a short article highlighting the change in status of bloggers. Five years ago, bloggers were not considered to be journalists, and were not treated as such by media relations professionals. The article noted that this notion holds little weight today, as more and more top online influencers, who don’t work for traditional publishing houses, become the source of important news and information within their areas of expertise.

While in recent years, the world of communications has often been quick to defend blogs as a medium of journalism and actively encourages long term engagement on behalf of its clients, I wonder whether bloggers feel as closely aligned to journalism as we think, especially given some of the recommendations from The Leveson report, notably that the press must be regulated by an independent body.

As the future of press self-regulation comes under scrutiny, will bloggers push back on the journalism label, preferring to retain their independence and freedom of speech? Or should they be held to the same standards as the media, however these standards may unfold?

Perhaps it’s the intent behind what a blogger and journalist both do that makes the difference? While they both produce content, bloggers write because they want to (often driven by an extreme passion or interest in a topic), while journalists write because it’s their job. So does being employed to do a job as part of an organisation dictate the standards and freedoms by which you should work by?

It’s hard to tell. The work of a journalist comes under scrutiny from their editor and peers, but we know this isn’t always the case, hence The Leveson report, which has driven the media headlines in 2012. The work of a blogger doesn’t have the safe guards of an editor or professional code of practice and is instead validated by the world of the blogosphere, for better or for worse.

To be, or not to be a journalist, is a question that will continue well into 2013 in relation to bloggers. Do you think bloggers should retain their independence or be held to the same standards as journalists, abiding by a code of practice?

If you are wondering who you should be talking to in 2013 about your brand then give Siân a call on 020 7148 4183 or email sian@auroracomms.com

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