That might be a good idea. According to a new study conducted by PR Newswire/Canada Newswire and PRWeek, 52 per cent of bloggers now view themselves as journalists. This is up from about 33 per cent in 2009.
Another shift in the PR/media landscape. And it opens the door to many questions.
Consider the definition of journalism from The Free Dictionary:
‘1. The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts.
2. Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast.
3. The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.
4. Newspapers and magazines.
5. An academic course training students in journalism.’
There’s no allusion to blogs or bloggers anywhere. Beyond that, a profession (i.e. journalism) has traditionally referred to a job that required training and provided remuneration. Or to put it another way, it’s something many parents want their kids to do. And you don’t hear too many moms and dads extolling the virtues of blogging as a career choice (at least not yet).
Then there’s the matter of education. If bloggers are to become the next generation of journalists – and I think there’s great potential in that – we need to develop programs that help provide some academic training; perhaps offering a combination of courses in writing, editing, publishing, research and ethics. Some institutions are starting to do this. But most bloggers learn their craft on the job.
From a PR perspective, we seem to be relying on media relations tactics to set the framework for interactions with bloggers. But is this the best way to go about it? Or do we need to re-think the way we identify and engage them?
I think we do. For one thing, the days of the canned pitch are thankfully almost behind us. But is ‘pitching’ even the best way to reach bloggers? How can we help ensure their stories are balanced/credible and not just cut and paste versions of our news releases? Will PR need to focus more on the public good and, if so, how will that affect our compensation model?
There’s much to consider. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.