On journalists, bloggers and netizens

To be honest I though this issue would not be tackled again but it has and it has provided an opportunity to look back, look now and look at the future of digital media — or media created on and in the digital space we call the Internet and Social Media. I am a blogger; a digital media scholar of sorts; a digital community organizer; a consultant on digital media, online-reputation management and communication; and I teach and discuss digital technology and social media. In this latest debate about accreditation and inviting bloggers I would like us to tackle the following:

First, What is a blogger and what is a netizen?
Second, What differentiates a journalist from a blogger and a netizen?
Third, What is the impact of digital technology on media, public discourse and democracy?

THE BLOGGER AND THE NETIZEN

The advent of Internet and its related technology brought four things important to us once we were connected. First, It was easier to create content through it’s publishing platforms. Second, It was easier to share and distribute this content through out the connected world. Third, Interaction and commenting via the publishing platforms was almost instant. Fourth, In certain cases it was possible and even easy to take content and modify it. In other words the Internet, digital technology eventually made it easier for us to create, share, comment and change content. Self-publishing was made easier if you were connected online. This resulted in an explosion of content and the continuing process of classifying, tagging and fetching content for Internet users.

One of the first set of digital makers or self-publishers were the bloggers. Self-hosted blogging platforms and free blog farms churned out and shared content. In the Philippines soon after bloggers were being invited to press conferences, events and media engagements. Unsurprisingly, this was seen initially in the technology and telecommunication industry. Bloggers were being engaged and the practice soon spread to the other sectors and eventually politics. Along way the blogging community began to pick up the good and bad habits of media practitioners that have gone before them. The internal reaction of bloggers to these challenges were varied. There were those who kept their professionalism by adapting individual codes of conduct and principles. There were those who made efforts to better themselves by learning. There were those who banded together formally and informally because they believed in the blogging philosophy adapted by the group — examples of this include the Davao Bloggers, the Cebu Bloggers Society, the SocSaGen Bloggers, Bloggers Kapihan and Blog Watch. And there was even the Philippine Blog Awards that recognized excellence within blogging community.

One thing constant with digital technology and social media platforms is change. Through the years the technology and platform has diversified. Today it is not only easier but there are a vast number of ways to create content , share content, change content and interact with content. Twitter has brought to forth microblogging, youtube has allowed us to post videos, Instagram has made it easy to share photos, instant messaging apps have made communication and discussion easy; And Facebook has allowed us do a 100 and one things online. Today everything is more inclusive it is the time of Netizen or the Netizen. It one idea streams of science and technology — To make life easier. You have the blogger known as The Jester In Exile on twitter tweeting and facebooking about the personal, the social, the cultural, the technological and of course the political on twitter and of the more famous blogger in the Philippines Manolo Quezon actively facebooking and twittering as well.

Perhaps to sum it up all bloggers are netizens but not all netizens are bloggers. It is a choice of weapons platforms…All Filipino citizens who can connect to the Internet; who use digital technology to create content; Who publish content; And who share and interact online is a netizen. It is not limited to a specific platform.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOURNALISTS, BLOGGERS AND NETIZENS

First, A journalist — unless he or she is a freelance journalist — has the resources and backing of their media company while a blogger or a netizen relies on their own funds.

Second, A journalist is assigned to an event or beat while a blogger or a netizen creates on what happens in front of them and what picks up their interest.

It is quite clear that bloggers and netizens cannot fully cover news on the ground. However, a blogger and a netizen has the advantage when it comes to their locality and area of expertise, because they are respectively more familiar with the location and well-versed on the topic ; and that can add value to a story

Third, A journalist has an editor and boss while a blogger or a netizen is their own editor, photographer and publisher.

Bloggers and netizens have total ownership and responsibility on what they post/publish.

Fourth, A journalist is schooled in journalism while a blogger or a netizen is not. Aside from journalists who also blog and media organizations that use blogging platform. However, It should not be forgotten that bloggers and netizens are also educated: whether in the halls of tertiary education or what is called education of the common man. And because of this bloggers and netizens can bring in their expertise and forte to an issue, an event or a piece of news. Furthermore, There are bloggers and netizens who can discern right from wrong in the same way as there are those in the media who are the same.

Fifth, Blogs and posts from Netizen can be fake, biased, reckless and lead to conflict. This is true. However, A look at the history of journalism will reveal that is full of examples of fake, biased, reckless and war mongering. One of them affected the Philippines, It was the competition between the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers — a form of sensationalist news crafting now associated with the term yellow journalism — that led to the Spanish American War and the colonization of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Edward Bernays used American newspapermen to create content that aided in the overthrow of Guatemalan government. In the recent US elections a number of newspaper and media organization have expressed support for and against Trump.

Sixth, Journalist deliver the news and sometimes writes commentary. A blogger and a netizen in most cases crafts opinion/a commentary. Although there are times when in the process of contextualization of a news story a journalist may fall into the pit biased reporting.

Seventh, A journalist, a blogger and a netizen can be tempted by corruption; acquire bad habits and also acquire good habits. No one group has a monopoly on goodness and badness,

A SHORT & ANNOTATED LIST OF BLOGS AND BLOGGERS

Here is a list of blogs, bloggers and netizens to show the diversity and richness of blogs. Most bloggers listed here are netizens.

Avel Manansala and GenSan Online. Accessed: February 14, 2017.
http://www.gensantos.com
Blog and blogger comes from General Santos and focuses on the events in Gen Santos. The blog was developed to make local news available but also to give readers a more comprehensive view of Mindanao. It should also be noted that Avel as a netizen has been forefront in using digital enabling technologies and a digital community builder: He is a google map maker, a google business group manager and country ambassador.

Life with Ria, Accessed: February 14, 2017.
http://www.riajose.com
Blog and bloggers comes from Davao City. Ria’s blog is about her life and her views about local and national issues. Ria is one of the founders of the Davao Bloggers and one of the Filipino Bloggers who became an International Visitor Leadership Program Fellow of the US State Department.

Mozilla Philippines: Accessed: February 14, 2017.
https://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/the-royal-blog-of-norodom-Sihanouk/?_r=0
http://www.mozillaphilippines.org
This is an example of blog used by Mozilla Philippines. A number of organizations use blog platforms to publish their content. This Mozilla Blog is managed by Bob Reyes and active netizen on Twitter and Facebook.

Probably one of first and most prolific blogger was the late Cambodian King.

The Royal Blog
By JULIA WALLACE date published JANUARY 29, 2013 7:54 AM date updated
January 29, 2013 7:54 am
https://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/the-royal-blog-of-norodom-Sihanouk/

Media groups and organizations that use blog platforms.

PCIJ. Accessed: February 14, 2017.
http://pcij.org/blog/

CMFR Blog – In Media Res: Accessed: February 14, 2017.
http://cmfr-phil.org/inmediasres/

THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND DEMOCRACY

The Digital Technology, Internet and social media can be compared to the paper, ink and the printing press. It has allowed humanity to create, publish, distribute, change and interact with content. It has also speeded up the communication and discourse among us. Lastly and more importantly it has allowed through its use INCLUSIVITY in the discussion between citizens, groups and the government. If you look down history you can tie the spirit of bloggers and netizens to pamphleteers Thomas Paine and his pamphlet Common Sense and the snarky Witte Corneliszoon de With.

To look down on bloggers and netizens or to bar access would be similar to strangling the democratic exchange of ideas and democracy itself.

So for me it is not a question whether or not to invite bloggers and netizens to a press conferences, media events and media engagements but when. President Duterte has the right to invite anyone to cover the Presidency. First, It has been the practice here in the Philippines for years. Second, Other governments have been doing that — locally the US Embassy Manila and other embassies have interacted with bloggers and netizens. Third and most importance it is INCLUSIVITY inherent and manifest in a Democracy and the democratic exchange of ideas that is important for Nation Building.

Also I do not think bloggers or netizens want to be journalists. Bloggers are bloggers. Netizens are netizens. All bloggers are netizens but not all netizens are bloggers. And the spirit of democracy requires government be inclusive or in other words open to all.

This entry was posted in Opinion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to On journalists, bloggers and netizens

  1. Giorginna Lin WFX says:

    I enjoyed reading this write up that clearly explains the difference among the blogger, netizenX and journalist because many people often interchange them. Through this, I also realized how much freedom of speech we have on social media which is why many opinions are shared on social media platforms. One insight I got from this is that we must always remember to validate and do background checks on whatever articles we come across. We shouldn’t immediately dismiss something as false just because it came from a netizen or as truth just because a journalist wrote the article. We must all be responsible in checking sources especially with the increase of fake sources.

  2. ASKSonnie says:

    Nice one Juned, scholarly and nicely written!

  3. Jerielle Malonzo WFX says:

    I think this issue is but a modern version of the never-ending issue on freedom of expression. While majority care more about the freedom everyone must possess in expressing inward expression for and/or against any relevant topics, I believe that in the present time it is better to focus on the effects of the freedom we have right now. People nowadays become so dependent on social media that we easily believe what is written, or in this modern world typewritten, and published in famous social media sites. Personally, I think netizens , especially the youth who are more active in social media, don’t bother to know the background of the blogger/netizen/journalist who posts something “significant” on a timely issue. Or sometimes they do otherwise, they don’t really bother or try to evaluate the content of the post if the publisher is well-known. In this comes the mentality of the netizens — that the writer is one of the biggest factors that contribute to the truth of the post. Knowing, then, the difference among much-used terms bloggers, netizens and journalists is a big help in enlightening the mind of people to be more evaluative of the things they read on social media. Knowing such differences will help us all understand the angle the writer is coming from, thus make us all more open-minded to all kinds of truths that may be presented through social media. All in all, this boils down to being responsible — responsible of the things we share/publish in social media and equally responsible of the things we learn through social media.

  4. Hanna Xianelle Sentina STS WFX says:

    Some of the thoughts I’ve drawn from reading this post is that digital technology and social media have broadly impacted communication by being able to bring people together or apart, all the while maintaining inclusivity. Even if you don’t mix with a specific crowd, you are still somehow included because you are all netizens, you are all users of technology and you all get to express your opinions freely. I think it is also interesting to note that with the advent of easy internet access, countless bloggers have sprouted from all corners of the web. In a time where a lot of people are easily gullible to what they read just because it’s on the internet, it’s important to remember that not everything on the internet is true. Blogs may offer sincere and transparent reviews of products or services, constructive criticisms of certain topics, and even news, but we should always remember to crosscheck or validate whatever we read on the internet especially if the blogger isn’t that credible yet. It would be helpful to look at their credentials and to see if they cite any references that we can check for credibility.

  5. Delos Santos, section WFX says:

    Interesting discussion, sir, especially as someone who’s been sharing content online since her formative years. I personally think it’s important for people on the internet to realize that a broad audience does not necessarily correlate to any real credibility–I feel many celebrities who have garnered fame online (especially bloggers) tend to forget this. I think that may be the only problem with allowing these otherwise ordinary people into more political and important discussions; aside from that, I agree that it’s a good way to engage with the public in a more democratic form.

  6. Franchesca Flores, WFX says:

    I find this post about social media very insightful as the difference among journalists, bloggers and netizens were identified to clarify their respective characterization which is often quite obscure to some people. With this, I also realized how the surge of social media today boosted our interaction as well as our freedom to express. Many viewpoints are being shared online, some agreeing and some differing. We should not be easily deceived by what we come across online and we should take on the responsibility to verify sources. I agree that digital technology, the internet and social media promote inclusivity but these can also be a threat to democracy if used as platforms for fake news.

  7. Mariya Hanna D. Laurel, WFX says:

    I find this blog post very informative since the bounderies when it comes to differences among netizens, journalists and bloggers have been cleared out or identified. It also emphasized how easily news or even knowledge could be spread out (through creation, distribution, interaction and modification) through the internet, and this has its pros (just like how easy it is to respond to this blog post) but also its cons. Although it is easier to access information, it is harder nowadays to filter out false news, information or even wrongly written info (that gives out the wrong message). I believe that this ‘gift’ of ease when it comes to retrieving and sharing information should not be taken for granted, but also should be a responsibility for us (even just netizens) to share significant and credible info and insights, and at the same time learn whether a certain article is reliable or not, and if it isn’t, I believe that it is best to act upon it to stop false news from spreading 🙂

  8. Angelie Ferrolino, WFX says:

    I agree that the digital technology and social media improved communication and interaction with other people. It also enhanced the delivery and sharing of information and even our personal opinions. However, a problem arises if our freedom of expression is used as a platform to disseminate fake news. That is why, as a netizen, we should always reevaluate and check the sources to know if it reliable and true.

  9. Alyssa Go, WFX says:

    I agree with the idea of this article, that the digital age has indeed connected people across the globe. The lines regarding blogger, netizen, and journalist may be unclear for most as it has become easier for everyone to find a channel to voice out their opinions online. I especially agree with the line, “To look down on bloggers and netizens or to bar access would be similar to strangling the democratic exchange of ideas and democracy itself,” as this truly is the modern freedom of expression. To restrict others from sharing their opinions through this relatively new channel betrays what a democratic society stands for, although I believe that regardless of being a blogger, netizen, or a journalist, the important thing is to remain credible and have integrity.

  10. Victor Alekhine B. Roman WFX says:

    I find this blog post significant and relevant in our time. Its discussion on the similarities and differences of bloggers, netizens, and journalists was clear. Its engaging take on the unrivalled benefits of internet and the online channels that it produced was a fun read. For me it is important for us to remember how our audience consume media and content. It is our responsibility to identify our own opinions from what is actually true.

  11. Magu Tuason, WFX says:

    “To look down on bloggers and netizens or to bar access would be similar to strangling the democratic exchange of ideas and democracy itself.”

    This line is something I find extremely relevant today. The Internet gives us the chance to freely express our thoughts and feelings however way we would like, BUT while hiding behind our computer screens. Though I definitely think this is a step towards democracy and freedom of speech, it could also be seen as an abuse of power. The advantage of anonymity allows people to believe that it is completely fine to bash on opinions opposing their own or to fabricate fake news and click baits because it is so easy to get away with these. This is why whether you are a blogger, a netizen, or a journalist, it’s important to never forget your integrity and morals. There is nothing wrong with speaking your mind, for as long as you are not stepping on anyone in the process and you are can willingly to take full responsibility for what you publish.

  12. Dessa Lou Top WFX

    It is true that with the digital age continuously progressing and changing while creating more and more opportunities for content creation from prosumers (producers and consumers, alike). There is always change and an upgrade of current applications to further maximize the use of netizens through the different platforms. These platforms then become venues not for one-way opinionated posts, rather if used wisely can instigate rich discourse between users.

    I would like to delve in on of the points in the article: the difference between a journalist and a blogger. It may be true that journalists are given “beats” in order to efficiently organize manpower of reporters in a media institution while bloggers are more flexible and covers what peaks their interest. But, I think both of them think about what would interest the audiences more when they are writing and not just taking into consideration their beat or own bias. Also, journalists also cover everything within their beat it is just that when it is passed on to the desk it is filtered to only the top most news articles they believe would be of the audiences’ interest. From a discussion in one of my classes, we recognized the power of the internet influencing news in our country wherein news is slowly leaping across platforms (traditional to new media) on order to reach more audiences. With this is the “competing” tendencies that could occur between journalists and bloggers in posting content online but the main difference is that journalists have the privilege of verifying facts.

    It was a good article and easy to read while provoking and exercising my thought in this line of field.

Leave a Reply