Very interesting piece this morning by Frederic Filloux about the change in power between corporate PR and the press. The thesis is the changing nature of the news cycle — digital serfs churning content into the maw as opposed to enterprising reporters developing their own leads and chasing them down — has shifted the power to corporate journalism: corporate content developed and handed over to the press for straight pass-through republishing.
“Contents are now tailored for the needs of digital media. As one of the renegade journalist recently told me – a fine female reporter disappointed by the trades’ evolution –, corporate communication departments are switching from the usual press release to almost-ready-to-publish stories. She showed me compelling examples of product announcements treated in a variety of manners. The communiqué was largely ignored, but its transformation into a pre-packaged version showed up everywhere: internet, but also mainstream medias, newspapers, TV, radio. The PR advisor was herself surprised by the efficiency of the process (and rather happy for her client): none of the media were eager to go outside the path she defined; reporters called the specialists she suggested, used the photo and video material she provided; no question asked whatsoever.
“The underlying facts: most journalists no longer have the time, the training, nor the motivation or even the management supervision to go beyond the surface. So, let’s feed them with what they need and we are in full control. That’s the plan. And most of the time, it works beyond expectations.”
I suspect this will definitely be the norm, not the exception in business journalism, especially in the B2B trades, and put more of an emphasis on content creation and development skills inside of a PR agency or corporate communications team than the former model of stonewalling and spinning. In essence the creative side of journalism moves from the newsroom to the source.