There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether reporters hired to generate “journalism-style” content for companies are really journalists or just paid shills. In some ways, it’s an old argument because there have always been upright reporters and editors and those who push a certain cause, regardless of where their stuff appears. For the current debate, I’d offer a real journalist is someone 1) whose focus is on educating the reader rather than selling them, and 2) who goes further up the value chain from just reporting events to trying to make sense of them.
Text 100, a well-established PR firm with clients such as IBM, Nokia, Facebook and Skype, showed how to do it with their recent reporting from the Mobile World Congress. They began by describing how Twitter and other social media affected the distribution and pickup of news from vendors at the show, with specific advice for how future exhibitors should change their PR strategies at future shows. The reporter, Jonas Rugaard, then delivered a roundup of news and trends worthy of a first-tier trade publication, such as the emergence of dual-core processors and multitasking, and screen shots and video of hot devices.
Finally, he summed it all up: “I guess we all remember the famous tag-line; anything on any device at any time. This should now be replaced with the right content, to the right person at the right place. And so the Mobile World Congress turns to be less about the new products and phones itself, but much more on the entire ecosystem – connecting everything with the phone at the center.”
And at no time could I tell which of the vendors he mentioned, if any, were Text100 clients. If I were in the mobile space, or a mobile vendor looking for PR firm (even more to the point) I would start following their blog religiously because it leads with valuable information, not hype about what their clients announced at the show. And when I needed PR counsel, Text 100 would have to be near or at the top of the list.
That’s how corporate journalism should work, for the good of both the reader and the vendor.
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