The Right to Write: Conflicts of being a journalist and a blogger

The Right to Write: Conflicts of being a journalist and a blogger

I love a good blog. We as humans are a nosy bunch and it’s hard not to enjoy an insight into someone else’s life, especially when it’s accompanied by pretty pictures. I adore perusing recipe blogs for meal ideas, and I pay more credence to the style of fashionistas than I do High Street mannequins.

Yet, through no fault of their own, bloggers are making life tough for professional writers. And as someone who has dedicated four years to the art of crafting skilled copy and creating engaging multimedia content, this is hard to swallow.

The internet has been in equal part a blessing and a curse for journalists. Brilliant articles are being spread all over the world, and there is a platform for every specialism, whether that be the politics of Uganda or a one-stop shop for cat enthusiasts.

But the media no longer belongs to professionals. Hallelujah, you cry, as alternative voices penetrate through the walls crafted by media institutions of old. But while bloggers help spread the responsibility of story telling with journalists, the myriad voices can create a lumpy stew of content, with the good meaty stuff often lost under the weight of lesser quality writing.


Image: Flickr

But this is not the main issue. Generally, I believe more voices entering the public here is a good thing. The real problem is that as the whole world becomes a ‘writer’, the work of professionals steadily loses value.

It has become very, very difficult to find a decent journalism job (and by that I mean something more substantial than writing click-bait headlines). We are expected to do the job of a professional for free, all in the name of ‘work experience’, only to learn entry- level jobs are non-existent, and our years of hard work do not count enough for a full-time, paid post.

Some would argue blogs are more ‘genuine’ than the product of writers working for media companies. Yet I truly believe there remains much merit in professional journalism.

Good journalism finds the relevance of a story; is it more than just personal opinion or loosely presented information. Good journalism is written for an audience- not to pander to PRs in repayment for freebies. Good journalism has a purpose, an identity, ethics.


Image: Antonio Litterio

You may argue I am a hypocrite, as I upload this to my own blog. Yet I believe my work demonstrates the skills listed above, whatever the topic, and it is through years of study I have achieved this.

That is why I am more than a blogger: I am a journalist.

This is not to say there is no quality blog content out there. Many work very hard at what they do. But not everyone can be a professional, and not all writing is of equal value.

So keep reading those blogs, writing those posts and enjoying your own take on the media revolution the internet has afforded us.

But I implore you- appreciate those who have mastered their craft, not just dabbled in it. Accept that quality is seldom available for free. And ponder that sometimes, we really do need professionals.