Travel journalists v travel bloggers: Why so much hostility?

July 31, 2012

I can’t really believe this has actually become A Thing. But it’s true. Over the past few months I’ve heard A LOT of travel journalists complaining about travel bloggers. They cannot understand why some travel brands are choosing to work with travel bloggers, why they’re being taken on press trips or courted by PRs. ‘They can’t write,’ I’ve been told. ‘And who reads their blogs anyway?’

This is always followed by a hurried/embarrassed ‘oh but you’re different Liz. You’re a journalist with a blog.’

(Well, yes and no. I am a travel journalist, it pays my mortgage. But I’m also a travel blogger, and a mum blogger, a beauty blogger, an entertainment blogger).

What annoys me most is the assumption that because someone is a travel blogger – but not, obviously, a journalist with a blog, because *we’re* different – they cannot write.

Well, I’ve been editing travel copy for magazines for 15 years. Some of the copy I’ve seen from so-called professional travel writers (not commissioned by me, I hasten to add) has been SHOCKING. Unprintable. My cat could do better.

And I’ve also read some beautifully written travel blog posts.

If you want to talk about ROI (Return on Investment) for taking a blogger on a press trip – well, successful bloggers can have thousands and thousands of regular, completely engaged readers. And social media buzz is extremely valuable if you’re trying to raise awareness about a destination or new launch.

It’s also silly, I think, for travel journalists to complain about bloggers being taken on press trips (and as I’ve been taken on press trips As A Blogger, I find this quite offensive. Do these same journalists complain about other journalists being taken on press trips that they don’t get invited on? I sincerely doubt it, since this would be highly unprofessional, and if they do, they really need to get a grip.)

I can’t work out if it’s sour grapes because they’ve missed out on a trip, or fear of potentially losing income, which would be more understandable, that’s motivating all the sniping but it’s very unpleasant.

The fact is, it’s 2012. No one can afford to be a luddite when it comes to the digital revolution. If you haven’t embraced social media, if you haven’t started a blog and if you don’t have a twitter account, you will get left behind. Travel bloggers are here to stay. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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