Very often journalistic and writing careers are tightly intertwined – after all, both employ roughly the same set of skills and competencies. Still, the differences are striking, and the ways in which these competencies are employed vary considerably. Which doesn’t, of course, mean that a person cannot be a first-rate writer and an excellent journalist at the same time.
Actually, which of these two professions is better is just an inaccurate question as these are simply two different professions. For some people one of them offers exactly the opportunities they need, but for others they would be completely undesirable.
What’s the Difference between Writers and Journalists
The difference is at the same time subtle and glaring, it all depends on the angle you look at it. On the one hand, both vocations demand from their practitioners absolute command of language and ability to express their thoughts and ideas on a much higher level than one expects from an average man. On the other hand, they deal with different problems and tackle them in different ways.
While a writer generally works on large-scale projects which take a long time to complete (no matter whether he is a fiction or non-fiction writer) and is less concerned with current events, a journalist thrives on them. The job of a journalist is to keep pace with everyday events; he is supposed to be in touch with the ever-changing situation in the field he generally deals with, understand the way things work right now. Generally the journalist’s activity means constant focus on several small projects, and it has a far tighter schedule.
For example, a writer works on a book; although he probably has to do it on everyday basis and gradually studies a large amount of sources, his timetable is more flexible within these boundaries. He is supposed to complete it by a certain date and as long as he does it he is alright.
A journalist, on the contrary, works constantly, delivering the results in small installments, be it a column in a newspaper, articles in a journal or something else. There are larger projects as well, but they are less prominent.
Writing and Journalism: Interconnections
Nevertheless, the boundaries between journalists and writers are a bit blurry. However, it is more common for journalists to try themselves out as writers, not the other way around. We hear about journalists publishing a book after years in their line of work all the time, but already established writers rarely go in for writing articles.
It, however, doesn’t mean that the position of a writer is a higher one – it probably deals more with the characteristic features of these two vocations. It is not all that hard for a well-known journalist to find somebody willing to publish his book – and after the book is published nobody can force him to continue if the experience turns out to be unpleasant. But for a writer becoming a journalist as well means a long-time commitment – and it is hard thing to do for some people.