Web Content Writing vs. Journalism

There are people who don't understand the difference between journalism and content writing; just because you write web content, however hard-hitting it may be, that doesn't mean you're a journalist.

So what is journalism, and how does it relate to web content writing?

What is Journalism?

Journalism as I like to see it (and others think differently, I know) relates to news.  More specifically, the timely release of news, information, speculation and analysis.  The University of Western Ontario has a similar view on what makes journalism, well, journalism.

What is Web Content Writing?

Web content is simply stuff you see on the Internet.  It's literally the content you see on Web pages - you're reading content right now.

Journalistic pieces may be used as Web content (like when a newspaper or online magazine publishes their articles), but plain Web content is page filler.  Some Web content is used to attract readers who will click on ads (like what you'd find on sites like eHow), while other content is simply designed to inform readers.

What Do Journalists Do?

Journalists:
  • research
  • conduct interviews
  • work under deadlines
  • use specific style guides to format their writing
What Do Web Content Writers Do?

To a certain extent, Web content writers:

  • research
  • conduct interviews (sometimes)
  • work under deadlines
  • use specific style guides to format their writing
So What's the Difference?

While Web content writers do some of the same things as journalists do, the difference lies in the intent of the piece.  If you're writing a story on the side effects of bisphenol-A for a newspaper or magazine, it's a far cry from writing it to attract readers online so they'll buy a service or product, or click on ads.



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© Angie Papple Johnston 2010. Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.

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