Recently as many of our readers know, I have been embroiled in a public relations smear campaign brought about by nefarious legal thugs and dim-witted-but-dangerous government bureaucrats (you can see my court filing which will appear Monday on the whole thing here if you are sufficiently curious).
The topic has me thinking about the profitability of the news model going forward, and specifically, how to create a harmony between public relations and journalism. I am a journalist first and foremost when it comes to reporting standards, so I cannot tolerate the secret spin-works that end up in the newsreel trashcan of our online publications every day. Which, I admit, is a little hypocritical for a salesman.
But I am also a realist. I appreciate that companies want to sell their products, hawk their wares or whatnot. To do that, you need some pump action. I also get that, as someone who is a great salesman especially so. The question is, how does one divine the difference between reality and perspective-based news?
I have a possible suggestion: Campaign Reporters. It’s an open secret that almost all journalists today are going to work in PR, and it’s a bit inevitable that one would cross over the line into the other when that happens. But there needs to be a standard around which everyone can adhere easily and honestly. Campaign Reporters is where this fits in.
A Campaign Reporter could be divided up into an unofficial White Campaign Reporter or a Black Campaign Reporter. The latter is a spin doctor writing to trash the opponent of a brand he represents for some reason or another. The White Campaign Reporter is just spin-happy.
Think about it for a second. Such reporting is honest, trouble-free, fun to read (everyone would love a really dark Black Campaign Reporter; someone with a truly satanic bent for the twist in the tale). Brands would hop all over it as it is open and honest and creates a viral buzz almost instantly. Readers would appreciate the honesty but most of all, they wouldn’t care anyway.
Mostly, newspapers would not be lying to their customers, producing endless amounts of dressed-up garbage stories by “London freelance journalists” with no face, a fake name (sometimes) and a bland presence that no one cares about, is plain dishonest and also, well, old-fashioned.
For that’s what is killing news, essentially: editors today don’t get their readers’ mindset in any way whatsoever.
Just keep it real. Simple.