Journalism is Dead, Long Live Journalist; Corporate Puppet Masters of Media in the Digital Age…

Journalism is the gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information, e.g.; news stories, magazine articles, TV, radio, video, music, advertising, photos, web pages, and of course social media… All of it, all the ‘content’ that is fit to print and all that is not…

Independent journalism (freedom of press) is indispensable for a democratic society– history reveals that the more democratic a society, the more news, information it tends to have… Modern journalism exists due to a curious convergence of factors… and there is no doubt that the world of journalism is going through a period of rapid change…

The centuries-old profession of journalism is undergoing change so cataclysmic that it may soon be unrecognizable…

media th1H7PEZID

The journalist hero of the past, e.g.; Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Bob Woodward… have become displaced by pundits… According to Lee Waters; the number of journalists has fallen significantly in recent years as free content has been voraciously consumed, and the nature of journalism has inevitably had to alter to adapt to the rapidly changing environment…

The basic mission of the journalist still remains the same, i.e., to tell the most important stories in the most engaging way to a readership… and these core principles are codified in the standards of professional journalism which include; truth, accuracy, reliability, balance, objectivity… and are termed the ‘journalistic model’.

However, the digital age has brought about fundamental changes to the ‘journalistic model’ and to the world of journalism; with the most profound being the complete transfer of the dominant media power from the written journalistic forms (e.g.; newspapers, periodicals, books…) to the elevation of the Internet and television as the uncontested monopolies, and what is today called mainstream media…

According to Stephen Waddington; Internet broke the shackles of journalist deadline, page count, schedule… It has made the cost of the distribution of content zero and provides search and social mechanisms to aid discovery… Now everyone is a journalist: Anyone equipped with an Internet connection can challenge organizations and provide a contrary filter to their content. It’s known by many as ‘citizen’ journalism, and its forcing organizations to be more transparent… This is a story of changing business models where corporate media is becoming the new journalist model for producing content…

In the article Unstoppable Rise Of Corporate Media… by Tom Foremski writes: Every organization is a media company– not because they want to be, but because they have to be. They have to be seen in the world or they cease to exist, which is why organizations are ramping up their output of corporate media and they are just at the start of this trend… Organizations know that the value of high quality media content is essential to bottom-lines… Since traditional sources of media, i.e.; newspapers, magazines, TV… aren’t producing enough of it; hence, corporations are producing it themselves…

There is a fundamental shift in the business of all media and the rise of corporate media is unstoppable and inevitable and it’s essential for their survival… Producing more content creates opportunities for more revenues… When organizations produce higher quality media they rise above the rest… Also, in today’s digital age, traditional PR has less impact, and traditional advertising has even less effective… It’s a cacophony of voices becoming ever more shrill and difficult to hear, good and bad, filtered and unfiltered– it’s a mass of content, and media is a tsunami on an unprecedented scale…

In the article Rise of the Corporate Publication by Meredith L. Eaton writes: Today most people prefer TV and increasingly the Internet to get their news and information… and while these media outlets may run similar stories and have a familiar look and feel as traditional outlets, upon closer look; they are actually content marketing initiatives run by major organizations… and they are more than just fancy corporate blogs… They cover news of other trends beyond their own corporations’ core competencies, and even competitors… and as more corporations self-publish their news, traditional media outlets risk becoming irrelevant… the trend is happening just be aware of the corporate logo represented on any press clippings…

media dotCJR-blog480

In the article Social Media and Evolution of Corporate Communications by Laura Matthews writes: In today’s corporate world, the success or failure of any company hinges on public perception. The opinions of key company stakeholders, such as; shareholders, investors, consumers, employees, members of the community in which the organization is based, are all crucial to the long-term success of the company...

Social media allow for corporate communications opportuni­ties that a decade ago was not plausible… Public relation is an old industry that has relied on the same tactics and formulas for much of its his­tory and has traditionally been measured by the amount of media coverage resulting from output of company messages. Social media is rapidly changing the way public relations campaigns, programs are distributed and measured…

Hence rather than the traditional method of measured output, which is completely company controlled messages being broadcast to the stakeholders– social media has forced corporate communications to shift to a dialogue in which the stakeholders, and not just the companies, have power over the message. Social media allows stakeholders to ask questions and have questions answered directly by corporate execu­tives, and for corporate executives to receive important feedback and even ideas from stakeholders… Public relations in the traditional sense has come to be seen by many as ‘smoke and mirrors’, deceptive messages being created by ‘spin doctors’… Because of this, many people have come to distrust media– the traditional means by which the industry is measured– and put more trust in the opinions of their peers, which they have access to on social media sites… Social media not only offers an opportunity for direct and instant corporate communication, but also an opportunity to get back to the ideal basics of public relations– building and maintaining relationships…

In the article Myth of Public Opinion by Jeremiah Jameson writes: Those who control the corporate media control public opinion, not the public… As revolutions, both violent and peaceful, overthrew kings and authoritarian rulers, modern states began to be ruled by representative democracies. In representative governments, the most important voice is no longer the king or the ruler…

The most important voice is the media, and most often corporate media. Of course the media pretends to be speaking for the people, for the masses… The media likes to fancy itself as the voice of public opinion‘… But, What exactly is public opinion? It’s the opinion of the public, the popular view… But public opinion is a myth: In fact, what the consumers of the media get is the voice of the ‘few’, the well-connected; the unseen hands moving the masses to their desired place…

media images

One of the tools used to manipulate ‘public opinion’ is the public opinion poll. These polls supposedly are strictly objective, scientific ways to measure the opinion of the public… According to the esteemed Winston Churchill; there is no such thing as public opinion, there is only published opinion… And now the reader knows why the press is so exalted in countries without authoritative rulers… The king may be dead, but the real power rests in those who control the media… These ‘powers’ daily manufacture ‘public opinion’ and then inform the public what their opinion should be…

The digital age news machine is a reality, bringing enormous benefits, even as it forces society to make difficult choices. Without a doubt, this new technology is changing journalism, and it’s up to consumers to make sure that this change is for the better. According to According to Vineet Kaul; if the free press and journalistic ethics are to survive the treacherous journey into cyberspace, society needs to answer the tough questions that new technology will raise about the role of journalism in a free society, remembering that technology, no matter how powerful, can only be as useful and worthwhile as consumers of media decide to make it… As Edward R. Murrow warned many years ago; technology without thoughtful human involvement is merely– lights and wires in a box…

Companies are waking up to the fact that the traditional approach to media relations , i.e.;  put-out a press release, wait for coverage…  is not as effective as it used to be. There are fewer journalists who cover much of the routine business announcements that would have likely been picked up by some wire service… The Associated Press (AP) now has robots covering financial news; it’s a recognition that while these things are important to record in some neutral fashion, they don’t attract many readers and it’s better to have reporters focus on features, scoops, hot breaking news items…

According to Robert Teitelman; the business and financial world has grown more complex and global, and journalism must effectively bridge that chasm between the complex realities at play and potential readers who know little… and in many cases, lost the habit of consuming ‘serious’ journalism due to a million other distractions…

media thAGY9GSHY

Journalism is inevitably a commercial product and must be sold to an audience to survive… According to Tom Foremski; we are entering a world where special interest groups will gladly pay for the media ‘they’ want ‘you’ to read… on the other hand, ‘you’ won’t pay for the media you need to read… A basic issue in journalism is– who pays for  quality news? Or, is this task abrogated to the corporate media mills? If consumers have junk media, they make junk decisions about important issues: Garbage in, garbage out…

The once free press is fading quietly into the night, and people who are a part of this new media system will simply do as they are told… As Abraham Lincoln wrote; great nations are rarely destroyed from the outside. When they falter and lose their freedoms– freedom of press, freedom of speech, quality journalism– it’s because they destroyed themselves…