Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Corporate happy face" flat world pancake made with content marketing that mimics journalism

Flat as a pancake - but happy.

Columbia Journalism Review -- Michael Mayer's illuminating article about paid corporate messaging in the guise of journalism

This is not a new phenomenon, but poses an ever-growing menace to the public's understanding of important issues.

Here are some conclusions from the CJR article:

"Brands are really good at finding new ways to adopt the aspects of journalism that most appeal to the public—and they’re getting better at it every day. 

"As content marketers grow more sophisticated, they will continue to adopt the trappings of journalism if not the journalistic mission, creating a world in which more and more content looks and feels the same but in fact isn’t. The truth is, we’ve always been out there in the information landscape on our own, choosing what to trust and what to ignore. The difference now is that there are fewer distinct features, fewer landmarks to guide us. Instead, we have labels. The landscape is flattening, and flattening fast."

In other words, Mayer says that corporate messages have invisibly invaded and dominated our daily "news" and "information" intake. And we are usually unaware.

This trend has undoubedly affected the Toyota SUA story in the media. And I had a personal experience that chills me to the bone. That is, now that my blogging habit has taken hold, I inquired about the possibility of finding work as a writer or editor for some kind of local media. No, I am not a trained journalist (can't you tell?) but I'm a pretty good editor when I want to be.

So, from one of Israel's most senior media people, I learned that there is no paid work available for anyone at my level because the bulk of what passes as "news" these days is paid content. So media companies no longer pay writers. Instead, they are getting paid to run articles written for them.

Where can we turn to learn truth from traditional adversarial journalists? 

Almost nowhere, specially when the would-be subject of an investigation is a big advertiser. 

That is why blogging is necessary. So here we are again.