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I’m a Writer Not a Journalist

Every once in a while  I allow myself to roam around the internet reading other writing sites or forums. Without fail, I’ll come across a few posts or forum threads that are less than flattering to online writers. Often times the comments are from folks who have extensive experience writing in offline publications and who have gone to school to become journalists.

Journalism vs Content Writing – Two Different WorldsJournalism

I’m not quite sure why the argument keeps coming up. I’ve written online and offline, but I’ve never been a journalist. As a matter of fact, I equate my writing style with my wardrobe (my daughter has just done the palm to forehead move), timeless (I’m still wearing the same jeans that I wore before she was born).

Getting back on point…Don’t get me wrong, not all of my writing will withstand the test of time (Suite 101 is showing me that), but what I’m getting at is that I tend to write pieces that are evergreen. I won’t write about the latest gossip or fads. As a matter of fact, of my several hundred articles online, I have only a handful of seasonal articles.

This is why I’m so confused. So many online content writers write instructional, historical or timeless information type articles. There is no comparison to what I write and what a journalist writes. Why all the hoopla?

What is a Journalist?

The conversations had me so perplexed that I decided to do a little research and came across this interesting explanation of what a journalist is and does.  In reviewing the article, I found that I have a few things in common with journalists. Namely, I like to write, I have a desire to influence for good and a desire for knowledge. I also write because it’s the one profession that allows me to bounce from topic to topic as I see fit.

Having these qualities in common does not make me a journalist. As with most online writers, we write because we like it and can earn money Content Writerdoing it. We’re not out to take away jobs from seasoned journalists or anyone else for that matter; although, not everyone agrees (as evident in the post in which I gave the Sourpuss Award to a seasoned professional).

Enough to Go Around

Even with dwindling opportunities in the print market, I still believe there’s enough to go around. It’s all a matter of adapting to the new environment.

I’ll end this post with a quote from a wise lady who once posted the phrase on the NJFM blog. I told her that I was adding it to my “Favorite Phrases” list and I did. Here it is:

“Life is about change and no business or workplace is immune from it. The ones who adapt and move forward are the ones who will prosper in the end.” By Julie: Residual Income Writer

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Happiness September 24, 2010, 10:04 am

    Well, I’m not a journalist either, although I wanted to study journalism when I was at school. A few years ago, I was going to go to a journalism college to get the qualifications, but I didn’t have any more money to spare, so I scratched that idea out.

    Personally, I just enjoy writing articles and topics of interest to me. I don’t watch TV at all, so that is what I spend my time doing.

    I’m certainly no journalist, and don’t profess to being one.

  • Crystal September 24, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Got a real kick out of your Sourpuss Award post, Felicia – thanks for including the link. It never ceases to amaze me what great stuff is hidden all over NJFM. I’ve been a regular here for over a year now and have read a lot of your old posts but hadn’t seen that one yet. As for being a journalist? That is a whole different ball game. And some days I’m not even sure I’m a writer!

  • Julie @ Residual Income Writer September 24, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Wow, Felicia I’m flattered! So nice of you to quote me. My husband and I were talking just today about how Blockbuster is about to file for bankruptcy, and a big part of the reason is that they didn’t adjust to the Netflix business model soon enough. Somebody moved their cheese!

    Great post! (And I’m especially impressed you can still fit into the jeans you had before your daughter was born.)

    • Felicia September 25, 2010, 5:18 am

      Julie, don’t get too impressed about the jeans. They’re begging me to put them to rest. The seams are telling me to get a larger size. 🙂

  • Deanna September 24, 2010, 11:18 pm

    I love this post. It’s kind of funny to me that “seasoned” journalists and those who brag about their degrees in journalism are the first ones to complain on forums when their articles aren’t accepted at online sites (like Constant-Content) or they apply and are not accepted at sites like Examiner or Suite101. Having a degree in journalism doesn’t necessarily make you a successful online writer. And, online writers aren’t necessarily looking to take away jobs from journalists. As you said, we are writers looking to earn a living from writing what we love. We don’t mind that they are doing their thing – why do they mind that we are doing our thing? 🙂

  • Cassie Tuttle September 25, 2010, 3:47 am

    You are so right about this, Felicia! There is a big difference between “journalists” and “writers.”

    The biggest difference, in my opinion, is the rules. While journalism is, I think, “small” writing, confined by terse, restrictive rules (AP Stylebook being the best example), writing can be large and expansive, restricted only by style – fluid or otherwise, good grammar, proper usage, with a dash of the Chicago Manual of Style thrown in for good measure. Or not.

    When I think of journalists, I think of media reporters, those who investigate and write about news, current events, and the like. When I think of writers, I think of everyone else.

    Write on!

  • Julie September 25, 2010, 11:02 am

    I am jealous, jealous, jealous! Wish I fit in yesterday’s jeans!

    Okay now that I got that out of my system… I have been enjoying your articles. You are so on point. I am not a journalist either but I love to write. I agree with you that non-journalist do not take away the journalist’s bread and butter We simply do what we love: Write! Now, if the sourpusses out there keep grumbling, they will one day wake up and discover they handed many opportunities to us and forgot to say “you’re welcome” to our pleasant “thank you.” I am not interested in being a journalist, but if an opportunity arises that affords me to do what I love, stay home with my child and make money too… Well, I will not apologize for taking that opportunity.

  • Alina Bradford September 25, 2010, 12:17 pm

    I hate it when journalists act like they are better than content writers. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Are apples automatically better because they’re red. No. So why are content writers automatically worse writers than journalists just because they write on the web? They aren’t.

    • Felicia September 29, 2010, 7:56 am

      Alina, you’re right. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, and until folks realize that, the debate will go on forever.

  • Julie-Inspired to Write September 25, 2010, 6:24 pm

    Thanks Felicia! I highly doubt I can take a job away from a seasoned journalist! 🙂 There really is plenty to go around – especially with online writing. We can all share and adapt together!

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