Is journalism a business? That is a question some business leaders have asked recently as part of their executive education seminars. If you think about it, most journalists are in business for the same reason that major corporations are in business: to make money. Businesses rely on solid research and detailed reporting to build their brands, and they need journalists who can do that work. While there may be differences between what traditional business executives consider “business” and “press,” if you put the two terms side-by-side, business and news are almost equal parts of the same business.
In the traditional business world, you would need a secretary to take calls, make appointments, fax information, order supplies and even call the occasional customer to set up appointments for future business. You would need marketing experts to craft your brand’s image. There would be business lawyers to handle legal issues and financial strategists to run the day-to-day operations. All of this sounds like a lot of overhead and if you are a traditional business owner, you might not have the resources to hire all of those individual services.
The advent of the Internet has changed all that. You no longer need a secretary or receptionist. You can set up shop in your garage or basement and publish your own news site, manage your own online media project and send emails to potential clients instead of laying call after call to corporate executives. You can even start your own Internet company if you so choose.
This type of business can be a very appealing one, but there are some fundamental differences as well. When you are a traditional business owner, you have a physical store location. You need employees to man the phones, operate the equipment and deal with customers face-to-face. You also need to hire professionals to write the stories, produce the videos and even write the online content. You have a marketing team and a legal team on hand to handle any legal issues that may come up along the way and many other people to answer questions and to resolve problems as they arise.
Online journalism differs from this model in several ways. First of all, you do not have a physical storefront. You cannot hire employees and you have to pay for the costs of maintaining a website and keeping it updated. Even though you are not physically present, you have a number of ways in which you can advertise your business and one of the most popular ways today is blogging.
A blog is essentially a daily journal of your life in the online world. While a website will show you statistics about your traffic, it does not show you how you are doing with getting the word out about your business. This type of business differs greatly from traditional business news outlets because you are not just presenting your information to a specific audience, but you are sharing it with the world at large. In this way, blogging is sort of like journalism in miniature.