The non-news that is corporate news

FireShot Screen Capture #184 - 'The invasion of corporate news - FT_com' - www_ft_com_cms_s_2_937b06c2-3ebd-11e4-adef-00144feabdc0_html#axzz3EJLHfkd1Last week, the Financial Times ran a piece written by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson on the rise of corporate news and brand journalism. In fact, there seems to have been a rash of interest in this subject of late – as highlighted here in GigaOm. As one would expect of the FT, it was a very comprehensive and considered piece, but it was a perfect illustration of an inability to produce a truly useful analysis. The article began thus:

A population of 100,000 is no longer a guarantee that a city like Richmond, California can sustain a thriving daily paper. Readers have drifted from the tactile pleasures of print to the digital gratification of their smartphone screens…

Tactile pleasures of print versus the digital gratification of smartphones. Has Andrew ever tried to experience the tactile pleasures of reading the FT on a crowded rush-hour tube train I wonder? It is certainly a different interpretation of tactile – one that is in danger of straying into the pugilistic. Far easier to access the same information on a small device you can hold in one hand. That’s not gratification, it is convenience.

But in starting his article this way, Andrew has already compromised its usefulness by tainting it with prejudice and support of vested interest. Change, in an off itself, is never either good or bad. There will be good bits and bad bits. Our ability to ensure that it becomes change for the better will depend on our ability to recognise this and distinguish between the two. However, it is difficult to do this when the debate becomes a competition between those with a vested interested in clinging onto the ways things used to be, versus those smelling a future opportunity.

Andrew’s article makes some good points, but it employs the familiar tricks of subtle distortion: taking extreme cases and nudging them into the norm, conflating issues that are best understood separately, establishing (tactile) angels and (gratificationary) demons, warning of either insidious creeping dangers, or else creating pivots of crisis. But he is a good journalist and these are just tricks of the trade. It is perhaps more informative to consider why he finds it necessary to deploy these tricks with such abundance.

I think there are some basic points about brand journalism, corporate news and native advertising / advertorial that need to be injected into the debate.

Brand journalism is nothing new

I was doing it 20 years ago. It has grown over the years as the resources of the traditional media have declined and also as the emergence of new, supposedly free, social digital channels have provided a car park for it. But the best brand journalism is really just a form of media relations. It has a symbiotic relationship with ‘traditional’ journalism in that it relies on the traditional channels to give it reach. It is not in competition with it, because if traditional journalism dies, brand journalism will lose its principal outlet. On the other hand the worst brand journalism simply ends up in those digital car parks (which are in effect digital dumping grounds). We are only just starting to realise, in the fevered rush to create branded content strategies, that most of the content itself ends up as ‘brandfill’ – stuff that almost no-one reads. But, of course, there is many a vested interest to be supported by the idea that the future of marketing lies in content (not least redundant traditional journalists seeking employment).

Corporate newsrooms are not going to replace traditional newsrooms, not least because as corporate organisations gain a better understanding of how to operate within the social digital space, they will realise that the role of a corporate newsroom is much more about providing real-time answers to questions, than it is about trying to manufacture news. Google spaces, rather than traditional editorial spaces, will become their focus.

Native advertising is also nothing new

(I was doing it 20 years ago). But native advertising is like alcohol, a glass or two every once in a while is fine, but sustained consumption becomes dependence and can lead to serious problems. The danger here is not the inability of the reader or viewer to distinguish between independent and paid-for editorial. In the short-term the success of native advertising is dependent on its ability to create confusion between the two (or else you wouldn’t do it). But in the longer-term the reader or viewer will always wise-up. And they do this by adjusting their frame of reference. I have done a lot of work with beauty and cosmetic companies. This is a space where there is huge involvement of consumers in sharing information, outside of the traditional media space. The reason for this is that the traditional media that serves the space has become so deeply compromised by commercial interest over the years, that consumers simply treat all of it as a form of advertising. And they have therefore created their own space for independent analysis: the space within which journalism (as a process or set of objectives) lives, quite independent of the things we call journalists. It is not that they have totally abandoned traditional magazines, it is just that they know implicitly that these are nothing more than the mouthpiece of the fashion and beauty industry. A vacuum was created, and consumers therefore filled it.

If you allow the native advertising trend to run its course all that will happen is that you will finally expose traditional media for what it is: which is a business like any other, rather than some sanctified guardian of truth which, rather inconveniently, has to find a way of paying the bills. Is that such a bad thing?

We should no longer conflate journalism with journalists

As mentioned above, journalism is a process or a set of objectives. Journalists are simply a representation of the institutionalised means by which we have achieved those objectives. They are a product of the way in which we distributed information in the Gutenberg era. But that era is coming to an end. The social media revolution is about the separation of information from distribution and thus the separation of journalism from journalists.

Such a separation should also provide some relief to those (such as David Holmes here) who become outraged at the very idea of there being a ‘brand journalist’. What he is really outraged about is the idea that brands can participate in journalism – but separate journalism from journalists and journalists simply become practitioners whose activities have no association with any higher moral purpose. The techniques of a journalist can be harnessed towards saving the world, or saving Coca-Cola, with no inherent contradiction or confusion of values.

This is where the problem, illustrated by Andrew’s approach, has its heart. Journalists hate this idea. Separate journalists from journalism and they all become just PRs – which is happening anyway. They are either PRs for corporations or PRs for media corporations.

Old journalism is dead, long live new journalism

We are not going to preserve whatever it is the process of journalism contributes to society simply by trying to preserve journalists and the business models within which they live, exhorting them to ‘up their game’ in order to counter a new competitive threat. The new journalism (sorry Mr Wolfe) is being done by people who in no way consider themselves to be, or are acting anything like, journalists. How we understand and support these people and processes is what we should be focusing on. This is especially important given the extent to which innovation in the new digital space is already being trampled on by a handful of cashed-up, post-IPO, predators desperate for a revenue fix. Or by investors, equally desperate to either drive fledgling businesses into the arms of such predators, or into their own IPO crash.

Basically, the whole brand journalism debate is a sideshow. Brand journalism has been going on for ever. It has been getting bigger and more sophisticated of late, but this does not make it some major new threat. In-so-far as it is being portrayed as such this is only for the purposes of creating a straw man to support a business model that is clutching at straws. It is time to start focusing on the important stuff – i.e. journalism that has liberated itself from journalists.


  1. orospu çocuğu

    whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You already know, a lot of people are looking round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  2. trademark

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I
    put things off a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  3. pasarqq

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My blog has a lot of unique content I’ve either created
    myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping
    it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any
    methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d genuinely appreciate

  4. vibrators

    More specifically, at my birth:Sun position is 12 deg.
    49 min. Of Aqu. In my ass in a generously sized black
    buttplug, keeping me stuffed and giving me a
    long, blond pony tail for her to run her fingers
    through. Each time she does, I feel the pressure against my sphincter and it
    makes me whinny in pleasure. Once she’s done beating my ass,
    she steps back to survey her work. I do think it’s becoming more common for people of
    various genders to get both ears pierced. Some of it is
    related to ear stretching, but in general it
    seems less likely, at least in the areas I’ve spent time in the last few
    years, for men to predominantly get one lobe piercing. It
    does still happen! Just not as universally as it once seemed
    to, as far as I can tell..

    strap on It not cured like silicone, which is one of the properties that makes silicone so safeIf you, and only you, have been using this toy, it should have been pretty okay
    to not use a condom. I think that the general rule for a toy like that that you
    only use vaginally with one person is to toss it and get a new one after 6 months, both because the material breaks down and it begins to get
    too bacteria yI almost never found a toy on Eden that up for sale with this
    issue. Usually DR reviewers catch things like this and let
    the admins know of any material confusion before too many people get a hold of one.
    strap on

    dildo My mum keeps pushing me to see the doctor, and to talk about things with a specialist, and I
    don’t want to, because I think I might be wrong.
    And I’ve found a middle ground that I like at the moment, and I love wandering around the house
    in boxer shorts and a tee and the look of a flat chest is so much nicer.
    And the name Kyle feels so much more right and “he” makes me smile a little when I hear it, although “she” doesn’t feel wrong, as such.
    Sorry, inside joke. I have not yet introduced my wife to this toy.
    She’s not much for things in her ass, which is okay with me.

    sex shop At the very end of the toy there is a hole.

    It can get very messy if you use too much lube or if
    your penis is fully inserted during ejaculation. Every time I’ve used
    it with my boyfriend, I stick my finger in the
    hole just a tiny bit and it creates a nice suction..
    Exposing Your Wrists The underside of the wrist is considered to be one of the most erotic places on a woman’s body.
    The skin interets is highly delicate. A woman showing her
    interest and availability reveals her wrists at increasing
    frequency as her interest in another person grows..
    sex shop

    dildo Zachary Chase Crawford was charged with violation of Haley’s Law, which constitutes that aggravated child abuse or aggravated child
    neglect was involved. I am curious as to what happened with the child involved and why Crawford was
    charged with’s all on Facebook or the volunteer times or the press.

    It was his girlfriends 5 year old daughter. What if
    for some reason we can’t or don’t have sex during that
    period of when we’re both 17, then what happens? He’s already expressed how much he hates waiting for his chance at pleasure, but does this mean that he’s going to be even more frustrated and miserable that
    whole year he’s going to be waiting? I’m already
    so torn and upset by how things are, and all I want is for him to be happy.
    But I’m confused and really don’t understand him right now, and he
    doesn’t understand himself enough to explain it to me.
    I don’t know how to help him, or myself. dildo

    fleshlight Abraham, who appeared solo on the
    reality show “Couples Therapy,” says she’s now in a better place emotionally, telling Wetpaint, “I’m more comfortable because I’ve done a lot of work. Like, how can I be comfortable with some of the choices that I’ve made? And I think I am more comfortable, in a better place. I just say keep progressing, keep learning from your past, watch yourself back. Speakers also stressed the importance of South South cooperation and innovative financing with outside partners, including the private sector. Pointing to the devastating effects of climate patterns, they urged financial institutions to make recovery financing accessible for middle income countries. Addressing those and other vital concerns in meeting development goals, the Committee sent 41 resolutions to the General Assembly for adoption.. fleshlight

    adult store My husband was pleasantly surprise when I emerged in our bedroom in an outfit that he had not even known existed in our house. He loved the silk and lace combination and was more than happy to be teased by what he could see but not get to through the lace. He did state that he would have like it more if it had been all white but understood that it was meant to be a Valentine’s day outfit so the light pink went very well.. The flight lasts from 90 to 100 minutes. Your plane, a modified Boeing 727, will make about 15 parabolas, each providing approximately 30 seconds of weightlessness. By the end of the flight you will have experienced a total of six to seven minutes of weightlessness or near weightlessness as close as it gets to flying. adult store

    adult store Alright, this issue keeps coming up here at EF. We are of the mind (and know medically) that the anus and rectum are pretty clear if you don need to have a bowel movement. Furthermore, an enema can stir things up, cause cramps and make one haveAlright, this issue keeps coming up here at EF. When i’m bored, i can still take two pencils and practice flams and paradiddles. Until last night, i hadn’t played in a very long time, and i am terribly out of practice. If i had some more free time, and a piano readily accessible, i’d practice more.. adult store

    horse dildo As for the bath water. That happens to me too. If ya think about it tho, it makes sense. One city official briefed on the early stages of the investigation said the team’s air began to run low. When the canisters have about 7 or 10 minutes of air left, they vibrate and emit an alarm, the official said. The so called vibra alerts went off on the canisters, and the firefighters began to retreat, following a “hand line” to find their way out, the official said.. Which I wasn expecting at all. Hilariously he used the bullet to pull a prank on one of our friends. “You
    see we so in sync now we basically telepathically linked.” He told our friend “She look at me in 3.2.1.” Then he turn on the toy and I at this point the girls we hang with knew what it was but that one friend was so dumbfounded it was hilarious and pretty Oh mazingBut wait! The story doesn end there! After the night cooled down we headed home, with a detour of course since we where pretty worked up form the nights events. horse dildo

    adult store With the horrible misinformation and prejudice on gay people + transgender people + people of colour + women + more. They’re so so so so so SO BAD. “speaking for the people”? THAT’S WHAT THEY THINK THEY’RE DOING? THEY BLATANTLY HATE ON 90% OF PEOPLE EAGERLY, THAT’S ALMOST ALL THEY DO EVERY TIME I HEAR THEM ON THE TV. Because I had some experience with video production, I comfortable recommending this manual to anyone with little or no experience. With the help of the book, I believe most people could acquire the basic skills. This is not a comprehensive text on editing software, although anyone already familiar with editing will probably appreciate the many tips included in the book. adult store

    male sex toys For example, every one of our rules was debated and discussed to death, sometimes for years before being added to our sidebar. So I take offense to the implication that they just words on a sidebar. They the result of the evolution of our community. It’s NOT weird to make him sleep on the sofa if you are both okay with it. It could open up a lot of temptation. Unless of course, he is fully aware of your limits and plans to respect them. It took me a long time to face it and get over it. I used to be a bit of a slut, thinking that no meant yes anyways. Since I have taken charge of my sexuality I don have issues anymore male sex toys.

  5. sleepdream review

    Excellent article. Keep posting such kind of
    info on your page. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  6. sex

    What’s up, constantly i used to check web site posts here in the early
    hours in the morning, because i like to find out more and more.

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>