Sunday, April 27, 2014

Journalist Bloggers - Bloggers as Journalists

Have you noticed that many of your favorite local newspaper columnists have become bloggers? Some have found themselves out of work as a result of the demise of the daily newspaper; and others have found themselves working essentially for free as “featured bloggers” in the very papers they once worked for. I have no idea how they are making a living. Some have fallen back on grants and fellowships to pay the bills while they further their educations; while others have gone on to jobs working in the universities.

All of this brings to mind the question of just what is a journalist and where do bloggers fit into the picture? It can be argued; and has by many of the columnists who are out of work; that bloggers are nothing more than wannabes with no credentials and little talent. Ouch! That’s a bit harsh, considering all the grammatical errors I correct in the daily paper. And that’s not to mention some of the outright falsehoods and stretching of the truth that most columnists rely upon to make their case about whatever they are writing about. Most, if not all, have an agenda.

Bloggers, for the most part, are “wannabes” like me. We write because we always have, it’s just now that we finally have a place to put our stuff with any hope that someone might read it. We are composed of poets, armchair historians, storytellers, hobbyists and political hacks; the latter being the most closely related to the columnists who decry them to begin with.

The reason I blog is because I no longer work for a living. Sidelined by health, blogging has proven an effective way to keep in touch with my own intellectual abilities and also functions as a sort of diary of what I am reading; music I am listening to; and stories which I want to pass down to the grandkids. Along the way I might take on some politics; even the Constitution if I feel so inclined.

But mostly I enjoy writing about films which I have grown to love and books which have become a part of me. By writing it down I hope to leave an impression of who I was while I was here. Not for fame, fortune or love do I toil; I write for me. But when I get notes, letters, e-mails and even books from people who are reading this stuff, well, I feel as if I have made a connection. And when I get an e-mail from someone who was related to someone I have written about; and this has happened more times than you can imagine in the last 5 years; giving them back a piece of what was a puzzle to them; then I am over the moon!

So, I guess this is what bloggers do best; we fill that space between the columnist hacks and the legitimate news reporters. We are composed of people just like you. While it’s true that many of us don’t have degrees in journalism, we bring a whole wealth of knowledge and skills to the table which would not be represented elsewhere. For that we neither ask, nor expect, anything in return; except for a nice e-mail when warranted.

The above illustration is of the bronze statue titled “Newsboy” which sits in the Library at the University of Arizona. It was unveiled there in 2010 and was created by artist John Muir. The number for the Libray is 520-621-6406.

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