Blogs Versus Newspapers: And The Winner Is…

Sunday, June 16, 2013 Stef dela Cruz 7 Comments

Blogs versus newspapers: Is there a war brewing? It’s the kind of question you hate to ask. But somebody has to talk about the elephant in the room before things get out of hand.

Who among your friends have newspaper subscriptions? Who among your friends go online and read blogs everyday? These two questions just might answer the question, “Are blogs overtaking newspapers?”

Blogs versus newspapers

I had to ask myself this question after looking at my earnings summary. Every month, I look at the list of blogging and writing tasks I’ve accomplished and how much I’ve earned from each platform. I don’t quite know what to feel: My online earnings are about ten times what I earn via print publications.

Blogs versus Newspapers: Cards on the Table

It begs the question, are newspapers becoming passé? Maybe not. Perhaps our trusty papers have found a home online, now publishing their articles via websites.

I can just imagine how it feels to be a journalist at this day and age. Just so you know what journalists go through, here’s a rough rundown of what it takes to be one:

  • Journalists spend four years in college honing their craft. They learn to write headlines, to steer clear (or decidedly stick to) yellow journalism, and to come up with unique story angles.
  • Once they get hired, they have to submit at least one (and up to five) articles each day. They have to interview sources, ask their sources to sign waivers on quoted statements, and write their articles, all in a day’s work.
  • Journalists work in a dog-eat-dog workplace. The better writers get credit, while those who aren’t up to par don’t get much of a career.
  • Lawsuits are commonplace among journalists. If anything, getting sued is just a matter of time.

And then here comes the era of everything online. Blogs, online news websites, and social media conquered the world, just like that.

Blogs versus Newspapers: The Paradigm Shift

Everybody is online almost everyday! We read blogs, check Facebook and Twitter, and rely mostly on online information (including news sites) for updates.

After years of education and training, journalists are now sharing most of the limelight with bloggers who require just one thing to start a blog: internet access.

I wonder, is this why some writers hate bloggers? (Just to be clear, some bloggers hate writers, too!) After years of education and training, journalists are now sharing most of the limelight with bloggers who require just one thing to start a blog: Internet access.

But it’s not fair to assume that it’s easy to become a good blogger. It may be easy to start a blog, but you don’t establish an online reputation overnight.

  • Bloggers have to study search engine optimization. Learning how to optimize a blog is tough because there’s no formal school where you get training. A lot of it is difficult guesswork.
  • Bloggers have to follow a different set of standards. I remember reading about how one journalist reprimanded a blogger for not writing headlines properly. I bet the journalist doesn’t know that writing headlines for blogs is very different from writing headlines for newspapers, something bloggers are acutely aware of.
  • Bloggers must learn a different language. I’m referring to HTML, javascript, CSS – you name it. A blogger’s nose will bleed from the tags and codes he has to remember.
  • Bloggers have to master social media marketing. They must be Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter experts. Before you say this part is easy, let me ask you, how many followers and fans do you have? It’s never as simple as it looks.

It’s easy to start a blog. But it’s not fair to assume that it’s easy to become a good blogger.

I’m not a journalist – I will never claim to be one. But I do write for print media. I also write for blogs. I know how it is to be on both sides of the spectrum.

Blogs versus Newspapers: Is The Competition Necessary?

When I see journalists badmouthing bloggers, I get a bitter taste in my mouth. When I see bloggers behaving inappropriately during media launches, I cringe. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place whenever I have to cover an event!

Are blogs overtaking newspapers? More importantly, is a comparison ever necessary, or are we just comparing apples to oranges?

Blogs versus newspapers: Will there ever be a winner? I believe that if bloggers and journalists pit themselves against each other, nobody wins. Print and online media are supposed to work together to give us the information we need. But then again, I may be wrong – after all, I’m not a journalist.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and a cat welfare column in The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene. Add her to your circles.

7 comments:

  1. Personally you tackled quite extensively even in a blog entry. Kudos to that. :-)

    As a writer for both online and print media, I do not think there must be a 'war' to begin with. Oh well, we can't help it if one industry would demean the other.

    I both know the facts you presented, but I think the only point you raised, which I don't quite agree is the headline writing thingy. For me, regardless if it's online or it's print, when one should write a news type of entry online--I would say--it should still follow the proper way. Subject-verb agreement and the right tenses should still be observed. Bloggers may have a way to doing it, but they should also not disregard the fact that they maybe getting hits and all--it doesn't necessary mean that they are the gods.

    Most of the stuff you presented were really substantial and factual. Only the part I was trying to explain was something I couldn't take.

    As a print writer, I also learned HTML. I studied the dynamics of writing for SEO. I guess, at the end of the day--what is vital is--how does one find a better way to improve his readership. It doesn't end by learning just the online stuff even if it's already the one making more cash these days.

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  2. Hi, Modern Scribe! Thanks for dropping by my blog!

    Just to clarify: The whole headline thing I mentioned was something I saw via social media. Bloggers don't have to follow the same guidelines as journalists. For instance, they can use conjunctions like "and" instead of replacing them with a comma (which is what would happen if the headline was for print).

    Although grammar and syntax are the same everywhere, there are guidelines on headline writing that even Wordpress add-ons will require bloggers to observe - and these guidelines are practically non-existent in print media. If you use Wordpress as backend and you pay for add-ons, I'm sure you've encountered these guidelines. :)

    Here's to hoping both bloggers and journalists learn to behave accordingly. Oh, and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

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  3. Hi Stef.

    As a PR practitioner who recommends both media, I would like to give you my 2 cents worth.

    Each of them have their own strength, and each of them have their captive audience.

    While newspapers get to reach business people / working class ABC+, more male than females at 65/35, and affluent families over the weekend; online media captures a much younger, more diverse audience (minus maybe Rappler but let me save that for another discussion).

    Sure, people rely on the online media for quick news (typhoon, traffic, breaking news etc., but newspapers are still the most reliable source of news when it comes to thorough reporting (say versus tv or radio news reporting), especially as far as the business minded people are concerned (ABC+).

    For me, there is no competition. Sure there is an overlap but each have their own strength and each one is integral to a campaign. But maybe thats just me.

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  4. You hit the nail right on the head, Steff.

    At first, I thought you were going to take sides. I read through it and I admit, I was surprised that I found myself nodding in agreement a whole lot.

    I used to work for a citywide paper before I shifted to doing SEO and I remember how my friends there talked about how bloggers were just "in it for the freebies". When I started working on websites, I got a lot of feedback from bloggers about how newspaper writers in particular acted like "they're superior".

    There is a war, whether we are willing to admit it or not!

    I am still friends with people from both camps who won't hesitate to judge the "competition" or resort to generalizations. I just wanted to say this piece of yours voices out MANY of the opinions that people from both camps are whispering about but are not brave enough to voice out in public.

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  5. Hi, Jen! Don't worry, that's not "just you" there - if anything, that's also "me". Remember my last paragraph in this blog post:

    "Blogs versus newspapers: Will there ever be a winner? I believe that if bloggers and journalists pit themselves against each other, nobody wins. Print and online media are supposed to work together to give us the information we need. But then again, I may be wrong – after all, I’m not a journalist."

    Hi, Sean! Thanks for taking the time to read before arriving at your conclusion! Yes, there are many unspoken truths - and there is hostility and animosity, definitely. I can only hope this write-up sheds light on an issue that many are so afraid to admit, more so speak of.

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  6. Hi stef

    you are the winner one side when you had make the best money there...

    clem

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  7. Clement, in terms of money, I wonder who wins! :)

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