Bloggers Vs. Journalists

I wrote this essay for school a few months ago. It was about a "community" I was a part of. I never planned on posting it, however with the whole Raul Ibanez speculation post by a blogger, there has been a lot of controversy about bloggers and journalists. I do not want to write an article about the controversial blog post at this time because I think it was somewhat blown out of proportion. (Phillie Phanatics has an interview with JRod)

The Internet is typically used to communicate, read articles or research information quickly. Many view the online community as one, however there are different branches of it. I write for two sports blogs, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” Hundreds of Philadelphia Phillies fans read my sites on a daily basis, learning of the latest baseball news or seeing my latest thoughts about the team or a certain player. Therefore, I am a part of the growing online community known as the blogosphere, which is defined as “all of the blogs on the Internet as a collective whole.”

A sports blogger is a different type of writer than the everyday sports journalist. Blogging does not require formal education so anybody can do it. However, the life of a blogger is difficult because it is set up for failure. There are millions of web pages on the Internet, but readers can only keep track of a few. A blogger must gain an audience while a columnist already has the audience from its newspaper. Sports journalists only need to worry about their paying job, writing. Blogging is a second job, therefore writers must worry about their first priority followed by maintaining their site. Unless a site features several advertisements and gets thousands of visitors a day, a blogger, such as me, does not get paid. Also, a sports blog writer does not have the access to a team the way a sports journalist has. Journalists are able to interview a player directly while bloggers must wait until the headline appears in a newspaper or on television. A blogger must also be careful to link or show sources as to where they obtained the information from. A blogger is more free than a journalist to express their opinions, however if a reader does not approve of what they just read, they are able to respond in a quick and direct matter. Some responses are offensive and the author must learn to ignore it. In most cases, journalists focus on reporting news, but a blogger can deliver the news and express their opinion in the same article. Although everybody has a freedom of speech and press, a journalist must be more careful when expressing their opinions. Because they know players directly, a journalist must carefully think about criticizing a particular player or team and give an appropriate analysis.

Many blogs do not become successful, even if the author is an outstanding writer. “If she is giving readers what she thinks they want instead of what she is, she should stop typing” (Quindlen). I found that articles that I enjoyed writing get a better response than articles I thought my readers would enjoy. Many readers do not read long articles that would normally appear in newspapers. Therefore, posts must be kept short and sweet while delivering news or giving an honest opinion. “Hardly a man takes a half hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks 'What's the news?' as if the rest of mankind has stood his sentinels” (Thoreau). Readers also want immediate updates when news occurs, and its the bloggers responsibility to publish it. Although they appear as completion, bloggers have expectations for other websites. I communicate with another website and we each write an opinionated article on the same topic but with opposite views. By doing this, we give each other new ideas to write about and we also expect to generate more traffic to both of our sites by bringing in both audiences. Bloggers also have expectations for their readers. My expectations for my readers are to come back to my site and read new articles on a daily basis and comment on them. Writers satisfy their audience by giving them something to read, and the audience satisfies writers by giving feedback.

“You have an open invitation to what is, at the moment, the greatest party in the world: the Internet and World Wide Web” (Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho). When I first joined the blogosphere, I didn't realize how hard it was to get a website noticed. However, it was my choice to join since I enjoy writing about my favorite team and wanted to share my thoughts with others. It was frustrating to write many articles with very few readers, but it finally became recognized by another site who asked me to write for them. I started to write for the popular web page and continue to do so today. Readers have responded well making the community enjoyable to be a part of. I am perfectly content in that branch of the online community, writing about my favorite team, delivering news and expressing my opinions.


Anonymous said...

Kenny was right though, no matter what kind of writer you are you have to watch what you say

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