There is a large debate going on within the travel industry currently on whether or not travel blogging carries the same weight as actual travel journalism. I’ve recently been chatting with some industry experts about their views on how they see travel blogging and its legitimacy as a medium. For me, this was interesting because I was originally trained as a writer and journalist before I got into travel blogging. Here are some perspectives I’ve found from talking with some experts.
Travel blogging is not considered travel writing.
Sorry, guys. But as more and more people start a travel blog, most without any sort of training as writers, the big guys are starting to disregard blogging as a lesser form of journalism. Anyone can come up with a travel blog in an afternoon—it takes years of work to be recognized by major publications. Travel blogging is a good way to start a travel writing career, but more and more tourism companies and tourism boards are starting to recognize that blogging isn’t where they should be putting their money.
But that doesn’t mean that travel blogging doesn’t influence the industry.
In fact, one of the challenges facing the bigger publications is appealing to readers who might be travel bloggers. They also get many of their ideas from what it going on within the travel blogging community. Travel bloggers are now the voice—the bigger publications are just the megaphone used to spread the news. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Where does journalism fit in?
Even those with no training can still take a more journalistic approach to their writing. I had a conversation with a girl on the travel group Girls vs Globe on Facebook. She mentioned, “I’m not writing to show that my life is fantastic and that I don’t face any challenges while traveling. In fact, I want to show the opposite—that traveling should raise some questions about our world and how to help other travelers to navigate it.”
I agree. Journalism doesn’t have to be a conglomerate of facts and statistics in order to make an impact. It’s taking the typical travel blogging structure and pushing it a bit further to create some conversation. There are some great things about travel, and there are some pretty terrible realities we have to face, as well.
What it comes down to is whether or not the travel blogging community wants to be taken seriously or not. There will always be the lower-quality blogs along with the high-quality. But in order for the community to be taken more seriously (and to receive more benefits down the line), we need to take a new approach that with fit with the journalism model by providing useful and in-depth information.