A great read on the corporatization of news from the Financial Times. What’s particularly interesting to me is that such established outlets like the Wall Street Journal in the US and The Guardian in the UK are participating in this evolution as much as they are.
From the Financial Times piece:
"The Wall Street Journal’s newsroom is not involved in sponsored content but its commercial team tells advertisers it can “deploy sophisticated storytelling techniques in order to help brands create content-driven connections with audiences”. For some reporters and editors, this is tantamount to media being complicit in its own displacement. Yet few readers have protested."
And across the pond, from a Guardian press release highlighting its growing partnership with Unilever:
"Guardian News and Media (GNM) today officially launches Guardian Labs - its branded content and innovation agency - which offers brands bold and compelling new ways to tell their stories and engage with influential Guardian audiences.
The official launch of the new commercial proposition is marked by the announcement of a pioneering seven-figure partnership with Unilever, centred on the shared values of sustainable living and open storytelling…
…Jon Goldstone, VP Brand Building Foods & Refreshment
Unilever UK & Ireland said, “Sustainable living is at the heart of Unilever’s purpose. We have made great progress to reduce the environmental impact of our own operations and are now focussing on helping the millions of consumers who use our products every day to live more sustainable lifestyles. Our partnership with Guardian Labs presents us with an innovative and unique way of engaging with a greater number of consumers than ever before, in their homes and on the move, on a subject which is core to both Unilever and the Guardian’s values - sustainability.
As content becomes more and more commercialized (and check out that FT article for some astounding developments in that field), the popular saying “content is king” starts to mean less and less to anyone looking for information that doesn’t count as PR - which is to say, anyone who was interested in the news.