Brand Journalism is a Myth… or is it?

In recent years the term brand journalism has entered into the advertising, PR, and broadcast media world. With its arrival it has created quite the controversy. There are two very strong sides of the argument. On one side there are those like Contently who believe brand journalism is an insult to the industry (as shown in their picture to the left). The other side of the argument believes brand journalism is real, and it’s here to stay.

I personally side with the second for several reasons. One being that journalism is not unbiased, at least not anymore. Take a look at any news source around: CNN, BBC, FOX, local news; they all have an agenda, they just don’t want to admit it. This is demonstrated time and time again. I feel the clearest example is politics. There have been countless occasions where a “news” station has reported on something controversial a political figure has said, but if one does research it can be found that the controversial quote was taken out of context and skewed to fit the source’s agenda.

Journalism is also biased about what it reports. There is so much happening in the world, both “good” and “bad,” (which even varies from culture to culture) leaving journalists to choose what is most important to report. Guess what they pick? Journalists report on what will be read. I agree with the opinion of this Lush article, it sounds a lot like journalists are trying to sell their stories.

My second reasoning for supporting brand journalism is that the communications industry is changing, and it’s changing fast. Even as I write this advertising and PR are becoming more and more intertwined. People want to know about the products they are buying, and they want to be connected to the companies they buy from. This connection is more than knowing product details or the brand history, its knowing what the brand cares about and why.

This desire has increased so much that, “no single ad tells the whole story,” as stated in this article here. Enter brand journalism. It began as a way for McDonald's to share the rest of its story, and it has only grown from there. Brand journalism has the ability to share what the brand cares about with its followers, just as a magazine journalists can, or even a specialized journalist does.

Although others may argue with my standing on the issue, there is one topic we can all agree upon; it will be interesting to see how this debate turns out.

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