Has Marketing Become Journalism’s Widow?

Has Marketing Become Journalism’s Widow?
by Luis Valldejuli

Issues of trust, objectivity and its role in democracy have plagued the reputation of journalism in the past decade. Virtual reality had promised multi-platform distribution channels of news to displace ill reputed traditional news channels, but has hardly lived up to its promise.

The internet has forced the news industry to adapt and change leading to the incorporation of technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence. But that ia as far as the technological revolution has taken journalism away from the hands of journalists and into the hands of machines.

Reports state that 70 percent of the world’s population currently uses mobile phones. In four years, that number will rise to 80 percent. Mobile technology presents new opportunities for the dissemination of public knowledge. Does this mean that phones will substitute journalists as the means for news dissemination, and that the promise vital reality made is finally coming to happen? Hardly. The need for analysis and context means journalists cannot be totally replaced by machines.

Journalism and marketing evolving hand-in-hand

Today, 85 cents of every dollar of ad spending is going to Facebook and Google. Social media is no longer just a marketing tool; it is a place where audiences go to consume content. A reader’s attention must be captured in a matter of seconds, so media content is designed to fit that expectation. There are a couple of problems resulting from this.

The first problem is that content publishers lack access to audience data. Google, Apple, and Facebook do not provide personally identifiable information about users to third parties who require this information to better understand who is consuming their products. Because of the nature of business, media organizations have a very difficult task of creating mutually beneficial relationships with such platforms.

The second problem is that research has shown that media cannot tell people what to think, only what to think about. In the past, attempts to directly or indirectly influence people’s opinions have resulted in disaster, and have forced a need for rebuilding trust and relevance requiring transparency, quality, and fairness.

Building trust involves expanding minority representation in traditional and digital newsrooms. People are more likely to have confidence in reporting done by people they relate to.

Experimenting and building new partnerships with communities and representative groups will be involved in a building of a solid, trustworthy multi-platform journalistic class. This must include: diversity in race, ethnicity, class and life experience. There must be a marriage between traditional journalism with technology and data. Only then can communications and marketing progress in the future: one realizing the need of the other.