journalism

Is Native Advertising destroying journalism?

Andrew Sullivan seems to think that native advertising most certainly is destroying journalism.

He comments on Ezra Klein’s Vox project raising $110 million over recent years and their stated business plans.

If the new media brands that have emerged over the last couple of years were described (accurately) as new advertising agencies, the stories might not have had as much traction (or contained as much hope for the future of journalism). But that, it is quite clear, is what most of these new entities are. Vox has now dropped any pretensions that it is not becoming an ad agency, creating “articles” that perpetuate and distribute the marketing strategies of major corporations.

The logic of this, from a business standpoint, is so powerful almost no one can resist it. Display or banner advertising is sinking into an after-thought, leaving journalism with a huge revenue crisis – especially when you have no subscription income from readers. And when you’re drowning in venture capital, the pressure to to find a way to pay it back eventually must, even now, be crushing. There’s no other explanation for the fullscale surrender of journalism to what would, only five years ago, have been universally understood as blatant corruption.

What always amazes me about the interviews with the various media professionals involved is their use of the English language. It’s close to impenetrable to anyone outside the industry – e.g. “publishers have to get better with understanding the product side of native” – which, of course, helps to disguise the wholesale surrender of journalism to public relations. What also amazes me is how silent the actual editors of these sites are on the core, and once-deemed-unethical, foundation of their entire business. So we’re unlikely to hear Ezra explain to his liberal readers how he’s now engaged in the corporate propaganda business. But if you scan the interview with Vox‘s new fake article guru, Lindsay Nelson, some truths slip out. To wit:

You’re going to need to be great storytellers and create things that help advertisers with the goals that they have for that quarter … We’re trying to become a consulting partner, where we help brands and guide them to develop a content marketing strategy that is 12-months long … If there’s something in the news that a brand wants to be close to you can get them up and running with the same type of polish that they would expect from advertising that takes much longer.

So even breaking news may well be advertising in the near future. And good luck telling the difference.

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Smalley & Marwick continue all out assault

The “serious” journalist and Hamas hugger Rachel Smalley continues her all out assault on me, aided by the equally unhinged Felix Marwick.

Both of these cowards aren’t prepared to sit down in a studio and go toe to toe with me, because they know I’ll rip them a new one.

This morning Smalley said that I’m not a journalist, not balanced and have dirt on John Key.

I’m sure Asher J. would disagree with Smalley, he wrote a 70 page judgment to the effect that actually I am a journalist…its just that I’m not “serious”. Who cares if I’m not balanced. Neither is Rachel Smalley, she hugs up to Hamas, is clearly a rabid pinko and unhinged by me…hardly any balance there, if she was balanced she’d actually get me on for some comment, but hasn’t yet troubled her producer to ring me. The last time she went head to head with me was on The Nation and she got pwnd that time. As for having dirt on John Key…well I have dirt on lots of people…so go figure…I just hoard dirt…its my stock in trade.

Felix Marwick has been on a jihad against me for sometime…asking repeated OIAs about me, he certainly seems to have a hard on for me. Again he is too gutless to call for my take on anything.

His latest article is hilarious too…all he is proving is Cameron Slater is a ratings winner and he is a flea gallery hack.

The Prime Minister says he has nothing to fear if Cameron Slater’s kept a record of their chats.

The Whale Oil blogger says he tapes his phone calls – but John Key’s not sure if that applies to him, saying he has “absolutely no idea.”    Read more »

Oh the irony, it hurts

There is a Facebook group where over 2000 journalists of any and all persuasions gather to talk about journalism.  Full disclosure, I left before the council that convened to discuss throwing me out could complete.  After all, I’m a curse to their profession and as the subject of Dirty Politics I was to be run out of town.

It is in this place that I found the following

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I’m going to let that sink in a little for you.  Here is a journalist, asking other journalist, what they think about content from a public Facebook page being used without their permission by others. Read more »

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New report proves our media are comprehensively left wing

A new report and survey of journalists in New Zealand confirms what everyone has known for sometime. [Full report embedded below]

There is an inherent and embedded left wing bias in our media.

We asked respondents to rate their political stance on an 11-point scale, with 1 being strongly left-wing, 6 being the centre and 11 being strongly rightwing.

Journalists generally regarded themselves as moderately left-wing.

Sixty-two per cent of respondents rated themselves as somewhere on the left of the political spectrum, 22 per cent placed themselves in the centre and 16 per cent rated themselves somewhere on the right. The mean rating was 5.0, with a standard deviation of 2.0.

Statistical tests revealed no significant relationship between political views and job position.

By contrast, the New Zealand voting population is generally right of centre.

In the 2014 general election, a total of 52 per cent of voters voted for one of the three unambiguously right-of-centre parties: National, Act or Conservative (New Zealand Electoral Commission, 2014).

Wonder no more at left wing bias in our media.

It is now proven.

You have to wonder at the decision making skills of the editors and management though that they left their news outlets promulgate this left wing bias in clear contradiction of their customers own beliefs.

No wonder revenues are falling. When you alienate yourself from your audience you alienate yourself from their money too.  Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864. In the 1880s and 1890s, as a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, she was a pioneer in investigative reporting.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864. In the 1880s and 1890s, as a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, she was a pioneer in investigative reporting.

Elizabeth Jane Cochran (Nellie Bly)

A Brilliant Reporter; A Brilliant Example

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Corporates build their own newsrooms, feed the corporate media

Andrew Sullivan is a little despondent in his post about corporate newsrooms.

He suggests that sponsored articles or native advertising will win:

Because journalists will make far more money from it than the old, ethical variety. Because no one has come up with a business model that can compete with it for moolah. And, above all, because readers don’t really give a shit:

The article he quotes next is an interesting one, where Columbia Journalism Review looks at corporate newsrooms.

Not ones built by corporate media, but rather ones built be corporates to write their own content to feed to a lazy media.

By next year, Coca-Cola hopes to have killed the press release. It believes the corporate website is dead, and it’s shifting its money away from television advertising. It has little use for journalists who aren’t interested in stories Coke wants to tell. Instead, it’s decided that producing its own content is better than relying on others.

To that end, Coke—and Nestlé and Chipotle and Volkswagen and countless other companies—have blown up their marketing departments in recent years. They’ve infused them with something that looks closer to a newsroom, producing glossy magazines, blog networks, reported articles, long-form narratives, and compelling videos. One Volkswagen video alone, filmed in a Hong Kong movie theater, has drawn almost 29 million viewers on YouTube, proof that you don’t have to work in a newsroom to understand the dynamics of social media. Or check out a site produced by Red Bull on surfing: It’s filled with spectacular photography, short documentaries, the latest news on surfing, and very little about Red Bull energy drinks.

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Sledge of the Day

James Delingpole is one of the best writers in the Anglosphere today.

His intolerance for the rubbish science of global warming is well known as is his intolerance towards socialists and nanny-statists.

He has a way with words and an intellect that demolishes the most battle hardened leftist and right now he has lined up Owen Jones, the current darling of the left-wing media in the UK.

This has got to be one of the best sledges ever:

All I will say is this. Next time you see Jones on TV – especially when he’s up against me – fluently rehearsing a selection of apparently well-researched factoids in support of his argument, I do hope you’ll take the trouble to check whether it’s his lips you can see moving, or whether it’s only his arse cheeks.

Which was delivered in his emphatic destruction of Owen Jones and his lies to the media.  Read more »

John Roughan on Hager’s preciousness

John Roughan makes a few telling comments about Nicky Hagers ongoing preciousness.

The day police searched his Wellington home he was in Auckland giving lectures at the university, so he ought to be able to tell us more about the fear gripping the faculties. I think it is time he did some regular reporting and told us the actual experiences of those “chilled” academics and the voices that have been “closed down”.

Like a real journalist, Hager says he will refuse to co-operate with the police in their attempt to discover who hacked Cameron Slater’s computers and stole his private emails.

“I believe the police actions are dangerous for journalism in New Zealand,” he said. “It matters to all people working in the media who could similarly have their property searched and seized to look for sources. People are less likely to help the media if the police act in this way. The police want people to respect their role in society; they should in turn respect other people’s roles in society.”

It always embarrasses me when we react hysterically like this. To the public we must sound precious, irresponsible and unprofessional. People know we have a job to do and so do the police.

The reason we reserve the right to refuse co-operation with criminal investigations is, as Hager said, because informants may be afraid to talk to reporters in confidence if they think we will comply. But we tend to garnish that practical reason with a great deal of self-righteousness about the public’s right to know.   Read more »

Kiwi Journalists Association nothing but a bunch of McCarthyist thugs

The Kiwi Journalists Association has a Facebook group where people can meet to discuss events and happenings in journalism.

Lately however it has turned into a left-wing infested hate-fest, mostly against yours truly.

Despite the fact that a High Court found me to be a journalist, and also that I was the editor of a newspaper and the reason why I joined it, they held a ‘meeting’ to decided whether or not I should be kicked out because Nicky Hager wrote a book using stolen and illegally obtained emails. Apparently I was the villain and Nicky Hager the saint.

I voluntarily left such was the vitriol displayed.

In recent days it has again escalated to the point where Alistair Thompson, the disgraced editor of Scoop, amongst others like PR hack Paul Brislen and a real nasty piece of work called Susan Belt have been again mounting a campaign of hate against other members of the group.

It seems that unless you subscribe to their thinking and world view then you must be hounded from the group and personally denigrated.

Thompson is the worst however…invoking the spectre of McCarthyism when it is really them performing the McCarthy-ist behaviour in attempting to purge the group of “wrong” think people.

As Chris and Kent point out recent events here and overseas have created something close to an existential threat to journalism as we know it.

Whaleoil’s role in this is multifaceted which makes it all the more confusing. He is both source, news maker and news subject. When it comes to discussions of McCarthyism he is the sharp edge of the sword. And when he strikes it is very unclear whose agency he is acting under.

The “state” sponsored aspect which is necessary for a McCarthyism tag to stick is writ large when it comes to Whaleoil and it is the proof of this which makes Nicky’s book so compelling and also so scary.

The raid on Nicky which can and is being interpreted as the state defending it’s attack vector is therefore doubly troubling.

I knew I was breaking the rules with this post but did not know Russell Beaumont’s role. I was however suspicious that some kind of deliberate trolling exercise was underway here in the KJA to a) create an impression that the journalistic community is in two minds on this issue and b) to build up the meme that this stuff “dirty politics” is normal and that the real threat is hackers who break the law.

Clearly there is a constituency for are least part of that view among some members of this forum.

That is why I made this post.

All that said I would be happy to accept a decision by the moderators to delete this post if they deem it in the interests of the community.

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“Public interest” – the magic phrase that permits crime and now entrapment

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Coming to a newspaper near you, without a doubt, is this journalistic practice

As a middle-aged minister keeping long hours in the social maelstrom of Westminster, Brooks Newmark was clearly flattered to receive the attention of a striking blonde public relations worker calling herself Sophie Wittams. Read more »