The modern Internet of today affords anyone with something worthwhile to say the perfect platform from which to get their message across to the wider online community. Blogs and personal websites have become moderately easy for even those with the most basic level of technical knowledge to create and maintain, while article writing sites allow writers merely to submit their written content with almost all technical procedures usually undertaken on their behalf. While many Internet creations of this type are one off productions, bloggers and citizen journalists have to select a topic to cover in greater depth, in the longer term, if they are to successfully achieve their objectives. While they do have this factor in common, there are equally many pronounced differences between the two literary pursuits.
Citizen journalists are in many ways the freelance journalists of the Web. Their services are not retained by any media group but the whole purpose of their craft is to report newsworthy information on any given subject to their hungry readers. Citizen journalists will very often use blogging platforms upon which to host their online journals and as such will be required to create one or more Web addresses on a very defined subject.
The subject matter upon which citizen journalists can choose to write is virtually limitless but the common denominator in each instance is that they must be seen to be reporting on and providing factual information, or at least how they interpret the facts to appear. It may be that a citizen journalist starts a broad based Internet publication on their home town and locally occurring events. They could choose to follow and report upon the fortunes of their favorite or local sports team. They could even focus on the music scene in their home town and advise their readers of concerts or events which are to be taking place in the near future. Whether reporting on events which have taken place and how they unfolded, or providing information re forthcoming events, citizen journalists are informing their readers of facts which usually relate to the real, offline world.
Bloggers unquestionably have a far greater level of freedom than citizen journalists, both in their subject matter and the way in which they approach writing about their chosen topic. While citizen journalism knows its foundations in fact, blogging can be about anything for which the blogger has identified a gap in the Internet market and which they believe others are likely to find of interest. While food recipes and travel are popular blogging subjects, poetry, creative writing and even UFO theory and speculation are all possible niches which a blogger may choose to explore. So long as a blogger identifies a niche which is largely unexploited yet likely to be of interest to many people and they write upon it regularly and well, there are few if any limits to the subjects they can cover in order to be successful.
Citizen journalism and blogging both have a very significant role to play in the Internet of today. While it may be all too easy to define citizen journalism as the reportage of fact and blogging as the provision of information for lifestyle or entertainment purposes, the analogy frequently works in identifying the dividing line between these two related but very different writing disciplines.