Is Blogging the Future of Journalism?

Is Blogging the Future of Journalism?Guest blogger Zuhair of MrTechz writes:

Statistics show that, in the last five years, print advertisement revenue for American newspapers has declined by nearly 50%. This decline is expected to plunge further in coming years. Since 2010, Web advertising revenue has consistently surpassed print advertisement revenue, bringing in $32 billion last year in comparison to the $22 billion in print advertisement revenue. What these statistics show us is that the days of print media are coming to an end. Let’s face it: Content media is shifting to digital media, and readers have access to an infinite amount of sources to attain a wide range of information including news updates, discussions, images, videos, etc. Printed media simply cannot compete with what the Web has to offer; as a result, newspaper readers are migrating to the Web for good. This shift does not mark the end of journalism; it merely redefines it. Where journalism was once prevalent in the form of news media, it may well thrive through a medium we now know as blogging.

Contrary to popular belief, newspapers aren’t dead… yet. In fact, if newspaper companies pull the right moves now, they may well survive for a while yet. The biggest issue for newspaper companies is revenue, not audience. With the declining revenue in print media advertising, the only way for newspaper companies to avoid extinction is to embrace digital media content. While many companies have already gone digital, it is fair to say that newspaper companies haven’t quite grasped the concept of publishing engaging content in their online version of the newspaper. Readers want more than just an article covering the story; they want to see pictures, video footage, and even to be able to discuss the news with other readers. Simply reproducing an online version of written articles isn’t enough. The fact is, readers are accustomed to the interactive nature of content posted online and newspaper companies need to catch on fast. The printed version of newspapers is safe for now, but if companies want to survive beyond the next five years or so, they are going to have to start building a strong online presence to attract an audience.

Eventually, the Internet will be the sole medium for publishing news-related content and this raises the question: Can bloggers be regarded as journalists? To answer this question, one needs to understand that the definition of a ‘journalist’ is very much relative. One way to look at it is that, since newspapers will eventually switch to digital media, journalists who originally worked for newspaper companies will simply begin publishing their content online. Taking this view leads us to accept the fact that the future of journalism is in blogging.

Some people believe that bloggers degrade the true art of journalism and simply do not communicate to the audience as effectively as traditional news media does. Consider this as bias, but as a blogger I couldn’t disagree more. To me, blogging is a modern form of journalism; it enables the writer to publish real time updates on trending news topics. It’s true that blog posts aren’t usually as detailed as newspaper articles, but they provide instant information as events happen — this is something that newspapers just cannot provide. They may publish long, informative articles, but how useful is that if readers get access to the information after the event concludes? Additionally, news blogging offers more than just information and updates to the readers; it forms communities in which people engage with each other and discuss their opinions on events. Through the interactive content published on blogs, readers absorb information through videos, pictures, and discussions. It’s real people publishing this content; they take the time to research and analyze the information available to them before publishing an article. This is what journalism is all about.

While some people believe that the dominance of social media has a detrimental effect on blogging, this is a short-sighted view. Social media can be incorporated into blogs to drive more traffic and form larger communities of people with the same interest. If utilized correctly, social media has a positive impact on blogs and can aid journalists with the content produced. Using blogging as a medium for journalism has many benefits: Not only can journalists get more exposure, but they also have access to a variety of resources they can use to aid their content. In fact, utilizing the power of online media significantly improves the content published by journalists as they can reach out to their audience in a more interactive and engaging way.

The age of printed media is coming to an end and there is no doubt that printed newspaper journalists are going to eventually have to start publishing their content online. Bloggers have been doing this for many years now and have proven that blogging is indeed the way forward for journalism. The unique aspect of blogs is that they provide content free of charge because, let’s face it, people aren’t going to pay for content that is available in abundance all over the Web. What is your take on this issue? Do you think that blogging is the future of journalism?