Getting the News into “Brand Newsrooms”

Celebrating Oreo’s now-famous twi-jacking (Or is it “twit-jacking?”) of the Super Bowl for the brand’s own milk-and-cookies purposes, the ad business erupted early this year with ecstatic chatter about so-called “brand newsrooms.” While the chatter focused in minute detail on brands and to a lesser extent on rooms, there was virtually nothing about what constitutes news.

Apparently, the ad people peddling brand newsrooms know nothing about news. So the brand newsroom conversation has been ill informed at best and nonsensical the rest of the time.

The focus on news from brands is appropriate and necessary. Brands live in the same digital world as the rest of us. Our world is increasingly dominated by social sharing, driven by content. If a brand wants its stories shared on social platforms – and it does – those stories need to be newsworthy in the most straightforward sense of the term: new and worthy of an audience’s attention. So brands need to master a concept that’s as central to journalism as it is to swapping stories with your neighbor: news value.


Redefining Advertising To Save Journalism

I’ve been working on this post for more than a week. I’m beginning to suffer from the writer’s version of Stockholm syndrome—I’ve been taken hostage by my own ideas and I’m starting to identify with them even when they’re bad. So I’m going to abandon the notion of explaining everything to everybody and just try to make my main point. In case it’s gets lost, by the way, my main point is that traditional media need to get their heads out of their hidebound histories and redefine what advertising is. (You heard me: redefine advertising, not journalism.)

How NOT to Save Your Newspaper

Walter Isaacson is a good man to have at your side in the 19th century, but something of an economic dead weight in the present. In Time magazine’s cover story, “How to Save Your Newspaper,” Isaacson advances the wrong old argument as he doles out some free advice for rescuing the imperiled craft of journalism. (I call it free advice because I read it on the web for free, but I must confess that my wife bought me a copy of the magazine first for $4.95.) His advice is (1) worth every penny I paid for it and (2) virtually guarantees the death of the newspaper industry if anyone pays serious attention to it.

If Seth Godin Shuts Up, What Would We Miss?

Seth Godin has earned a reputation as a marketing guru who provides both intelligence and buzzwords. It was a disappointment, then, to see him venture recently into unknown (to him) territory with an ill considered and hastily assembled blog post titled “When newspapers are gone, what will you miss?” The post reveals clearly that Seth knows little about journalism—neither the practice of it nor the economics. Truly, no one will miss Seth if he gracefully bows out of the conversation about journalism’s future.