Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloggers, unbreakable link

Priyanka Tandon wrote;
"Hi there,
If you remember I had contacted you regarding my dissertation. I am sending you 2 sets of questionnaires considering that you are both a blogger and a journalist. I realise that you blog personally but some posts are very journalistic in nature. I request you to answer back in an in-depth way." -
As the subject is about blogs, thought it would be interesting to share this Q&A with you all. Sorry about the length. Cheers...
What are the basic motivations that allow you to blog about news and journalism?
I do not exactly blog about news. But maybe because I have been a mainstream journalist for the past 27 years, my writings get the journalistic tinge. I write mostly about my personal experiences. Two motivations: One, I can see a very visible improvement in my writing skills thanks to my regular postings. Two, I have made a variety of friends in different fields like engineering, medicine, media etc. Name it, you have it. Like a friend said, it makes us wonder, we are very free when we discuss our problems with a virtual friend, than in reality. The feeling of sharing among bloggers is so great, one has to be involved to actually get a feel of it.
Are blogs an important source of information other than the professional methods available?
Yes. As a journalist, I have noticed that bloggers break some news faster than even the journalists. Will give an example. Danish cheese was banned in the UAE for sometime following a controversy. It was through a blog that I got to know first that the items are back on the shelves.
Do you think blogging about news is equal to performing journalism?
Yes. Unfortunately, I do not know whether we get paid for breaking news through blogs.
How do you think journalism blogs affect the functioning of mainstream media?
The print media has already lost the race to TV and Internet. If there is an accident on my street and even if I capture the moments instantly, I have to wait for the paper to be printed the next day. But the TV and Internet can flash instantly. Like the boss of my leading media company in India once said, “We print media are now eating the leftovers of television.”
Many scholars agree that blogging and journalism, in fact, go hand in hand, do you agree?
Not necessary. There are thousands of non-journalists who run effective blogs. In fact, some of them are better than those by trained journalists.
What do you think is the future of news bloggers in India?
I presume it should be bright. I am yet to know myself how to sell oneself as a news blogger.
Questionnaire (for journalists)
There is a lot of speculation these days that blogging is the future of journalism, do you agree?
If you take into account there are 200 million blogs presently, the speculation indeed has some basis. But how commercially viable is it going to be is the question yet to be answered.
In your opinion, should news bloggers be given the same privileges as that given to professional journalists?
Absolutely. As long as the goal is to bring out news information to the public, who does it does not matter. There should be the same privileges.
Are news bloggers a threat or an advantage to mainstream media?
It depends. Like I said print media is already losing on newsbreak. What is news? Something that is new, right? But with tech explosion, news is broken within seconds in other media. News blogs can be advantageous if as an editor I were to pick the clue offered by them and follow up with an effective story. For ex, we did follow up on the Danish cheese returning to Dubai shop shelves as soon as we noticed the news in a blog. It can turn a threat if bloggers offer serious analysis of news proceedings as is presently done by newspapers.
How do you think bloggers challenge/help journalism and its principle function?
By offering tips for news breaks. A journalist can make a huge story by just picking a line in a blog.
Do you think news bloggers play an important role in the Indian media?
Sorry, I have not seriously studied this aspect as I am away from India presently (for the past eight years). If you ask me about media in general, it is a big YES, Most mainstream journalists do keep an eye on the blogs. I noticed this phenomenon when the famous Gulf News newspaper quoted my new blog in one of the columns.


  1. Very interesting. You did an excellent job of answers in detail and yet staying concise. And while I have read much animosity from mainstream journalists toward bloggers, you have an open mind and more practical approach to the new era. I am proud to be your friend! :)

  2. Very true about bloggers....I wonder the future of blogging....probably a new medium might takeover....(some have already shifted to twitter)...Thanks for sharing:))

  3. Interesting post contrasting journalism and blogging...I agree that we have to be more open minded and flexible about media changes. I find the "human interest" aspect of blogging more engaging because of commenting ease.
    I have been introducing 'blog creation' in my freshman level English classes where the students keep a blog-writing portfolio. I think it is effective, and the students take to it 'like a fish to water.' Thanks for sharing your views, R. <3

  4. Heavy stuff.....i am glad you shared this with us..Thanks.

  5. Good Post...Thanks for sharing....

    Blogging and Journalism....Very Interesting...Never thought blogging can take over journalism....Good to know what we are in for....Makes you wonder...

    So true that television has taken the spice out of newspapers. But I know quite a few, whose mornings don't start without a newspaper....I guess that trend will reduce since the new generation are hooked onto the web all the time...

  6. We are also journalists, now! Thank you for sharing this with all of us, Ramesh!

  7. great piece of info..thanks for sharing it. Theres one guy I have heard of In India whos earns in lakhs every months just through blogging!! I wonder how?

  8. Citizen journalism offers a chance to really revitalize journalism in several ways. On the one hand it reconnects journalists in a basic way with their audience and on the other hand it returns journalists to a direct connection with grass roots reporting and information. There are some great interviews with top journalists about the future of journalism at http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid69

  9. Thanks a lot Ramesh Bhai for sharing this post with us.

    The boss spoke truth, yes, the print media are cornered and are now eating the leftovers of television and internet.

    Very useful information you have given here from your three decades of experience in the field.