More on Public Journalationism

As I noted in this post with the poorly portmanteau’d title, I think the onset of content marketing is making the journalism and public relations industries converge ever more closely. Two items from the past week or so caught my eye. Here’s the first, from the Content Strategist:

But for Jenny Leonard, research is much more than a reference point — it is content worth sharing and exploring. Leonard is the editor behind Futurity, a website that reveals the latest discoveries coming out of university research departments. The site, which is hosted at the University of Rochester, launched in 2009 as a way to share research news with the public.

“Universities produce a lot,” she explains, “and my team says here’s the stuff that matters, here’s what you should know.”

Futurity’s model runs deeper than exposing people to what’s happening idea-wise. Its strategy is really a hybrid of journalism and PR — an efficient way for universities to leverage the intrigue of their new ideas to ever widening audiences.

“The idea was that universities were already producing great content, but the role of the press release was changing,” says Leonard. “On one hand there was this explosion of new channels for distribution — through the Internet — and yet there was a shrinking demand in more traditional outlets. Publications like Time and Newsweek were covering less and less research as news, often limiting them to news briefs or cutting them entirely.”

Because an unfathomable amount of content is produced for immediate availability every day, good PR and journalism play an increasingly similar role: sifting through that information to pick out what’s useful. As I’ve said before, I know that this comparison will piss off some (most?) journalists, because PR is geared towards persuasion while journalism is ostensibly about informing people. I would, however, remind those journalists that their industry’s ostensible role is not always its role in practice (check here for an example that changed the course of world history).

Second item comes my way from Craig Collins. I found this through the Twittermachines:

Think newspapers are old school, antiquated, and dinosaurs of advertising? Think again. Newspapers utilize a formula that’s worked for centuries and continue to work in every advertising media today. While newspapers may be on the brink of extinction, the time tested formula lives on.


So how can you apply this to social media, and specifically to Twitter? Well, think of Twitter as your newspaper. You don’t have time to read every tweet that comes across your tweet stream so you’re naturally going to scan the tweets and read only those that catch your attention. Tweets are essentially headlines.

Collins’ point in the post mostly concerns copying the brevity of headlines because people often don’t click through, and of those who do, even fewer people read the linked content in its entirety (I agree with that, too). But again: lotsa overlap between PR and journalism, even more so with the Facebook and the Twitter and all the other crazy technology those kids are using.

…and no, I don’t really have anything else to say besides dancing up and down that other people publicly agree with my idea, even though they probably thought of my idea long before I did.


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