Traditional vs. Citizen Media – Social Darwinism

    December 11, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

I’m sure there are many out there who ask or are asked this question, and many have not yet found a consistent answer.

The question is, what’s the difference between a journalist and a blogger? Is a blogger a journalist and is a journalist a blogger?

The answer isn’t so simple because the conversation usually spins down a maze of different avenues. But, let’s keep it simple, with the intent of answering the question.

Bloggers have earned the title of “citizen journalists” whether we like it or not. The idea, is that content and the ability to publish it is so great now, that by default, content creators have become media – not just consumers, but contributors. Therefore blogs, camera phones, tags, pages on social networks, etc., have become part of the citizen media movement, and it has become an undeniable force. So much so, that savvy marketers are creating specialized campaigns that not only reach traditional media, but citizen media as well.

Once the sole dominance of traditional news media, many bloggers are now privy to valuable information, and combined with the ability to instantly publish information, bloggers are scooping reporters more often than not.

Let’s be fair though. The best journalists are in a completely differently league than most bloggers. They’re trained in the art of journalism, they adhere to values and ethics that bloggers are only starting to realize, and they understand the differences between fact and opinion and the value of sources. While many journalists have successfully crossed over to blogging, most, have been completely blindsided by citizen media for many reasons.

Now everyone is scrambling for survival and those who get it, are already competing for the future. So, to be clear:

A jounalist who blogs is a blogger.

A journalist that blogs and also writes for traditional media, is a journalist and a blogger.

If a journalists writes online without integrated social media elements such as comments, trackbacks, etc., then they are a journalist.

In turn, people who blog are bloggers, but they are not journalists.

However, the most important gem here is that, at some point “traditional” journalists will become extinct. They, and the publications they represent, will evolve. It’s Social Darwinism. Therefore, in some respects, every journalist may very well become a blogger.

Social media is a powerful medium and we can not control it. We can only participate. But nowadays, participation is marketing and opinions carry a lot of weight, whether sourced from journalists or bloggers.


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Brian Solis is principal at FutureWorks PR, an award-winning PR and Social Media agency founded in 1999. FW PR bridges the communications gap between companies and their customers, and between products and their specific benefits for their target markets. Solis blogs at PR2.0,, and regularly contributes to many industry trades. He is also frequently quoted in articles relating to technology trends and Marketing/PR strategies.