Media outlets are hiring writers that are not journalists. Instead these writers are hired to write advertisements, which are designed to look like news stories, for advertisers.
So reported Michael Sebastian in an AdAge article titled: Who’s Behind the Sponsored Content at BuzzFeed, Gawker, Hearst and WashPo?
It’s disruptive on so many levels – for journalism, advertising and PR.
@Frank_Strong have a feeling few will recognize the difference – news story, blog post, advertorial, paid newswire – all will look the same
— Erik Deutsch (@ErikDeutsch) October 16, 2013
- Journalism. It used to be that only reporters wrote content not only designed to look like news, but actually was news. What does it mean for the credibility of a media outlet when consumers catch on that there’s content disguised at news, but it’s up to them to guess which? What does that mean for business reporting? Or politics? Or fires, crashes and police reports for that matter?
- Advertising. It used to be that business that wanted to create ads would hire an agency to create and purchase ad space. Sometimes this would be split into two firms – a creative firm and a media buying house. It seems to me these media publications are aiming to cut out the middle man unseat advertising firms.
- PR. Is it the death of earned media? In a Twitter conversation with Erik Deutsh he wrote, “Clients are already warming up to the idea that their PR agency is now in the paid media business.” There’s no doubt it’s increasingly taking a blend of earned, owned and paid media to move the needle – and social media is increasingly a pay-to-play landscape.
The question that remains is the value proposition for the customer. Would you outsource your content to a publication in which you are also advertising?
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