What the Hell Does the PR Guy Know About Journalism (Take II)?

Apparently, the five posts on our journalistic brothers last March didn’t deliver enough to data answer this question.

In an attempt to tilt the scale in my favor, I’ve curated another round of posts scrutinizing the world of journalism with the caveat that some stones have been left unturned.

Clues Reveal How Mr. Bezos Will Guide The Washington Post

Washington Post: Bezo courts Washington Post editors, reporters

I don’t know what The Washington Post will look like in 2018, but I guarantee it will be in a business or two (or three) that no one could have predicted today.

Few people think that Bezos will defend the purity of journalism; his stewardship of Amazon offers clues that he’s comfortable wading into the gray area in exchange for revenue. The Amazon Vine program serves as a good Exhibit A.

Old-school Mentality Continues to Handicap Newspapers

When The Sunday Times broke the “Rowling admits Harry Potter should have ended up with Ron Weasley’s chick” story, traffic to www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/ should have skyrocketed.

Not so fast.

The suits refused to budge on the paywall, sending potential readers into the arms of BuzzFeed, The Verge and the like.

The Wall Street Journal Further Blends Native Advertising with Journalism

Publications are inventing native advertising as they go along.

Combined with the fact that every publication must answer the question, “How far do we go in deceiving readers to maximize revenue and still retain trust?” and you’ve got the makings for decisions that can stray from the journalistic code of ethics.

Like blending sponsored content with editorial in search results. Plugging [cybersecurity] into the Journal’s search function still brings up the Deloitte-sponsored content high on Page 1:

WSJ search results for cybersecurity

Fortune Journalist Cuts to the Core of Storytelling in Business

The Stanford Business School interview of Fortune’s Patricia Sellers has become a standard part of our storytelling workshops.

Her line, “If failure isn’t part of the story, I’m not that interested” creates a conundrum for PR. Do you try to convince senior execs to share their tales of woe or accept that certain opportunities are off limits?

Actually, there’s a third option.

Ten Unfiltered Takes on “Tech Journalism is Broken”

Motoring away from the beaten path of Nieman Lab and Poynter, I came across a lively discussion on tech journalism on Hacker News.

For those who prefer the Cliff Notes version –

  • Journalists don’t enjoy being ruled by the SEO gods.
    • Journalists don’t enjoy PR foisting lame news releases on them as fodder for stories.
    • Journalists do enjoy the process of “discovery” in writing a story with original insight.

In wrapping this series, a couple folks have asked me if there’s danger in “biting the hand that feeds me and the Agency.”

I prefer to think of these posts as “observing the hand.”

If you want to continue the dialogue, by all means take a minute to weigh in.

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