04 December 2014

Latest trends in media content

On 3 December, the FT's Media section featured an article by digital media correspondent Robert Cookson entitled News organisations ‘go native’ to find new source of ad revenue. While Cookson focuses primarily on the changing revenue streams of media organisations, the article will be of interest to journalists and translators in general, including technical journalists and their translators.

As has often been mentioned here and elsewhere, good journalism, like good translation, begins with a clear idea of who the audience is and how the vehicle of communication works. Cookson's article provides excellent concise background information along with key terminology on the changing media scene and how different types of 'journalism' (or whatever one wants to call it) now work.

Key terms include: sponsored content, advertorial, native advertising, paid posts (a form of sponsored content), branded content, content marketing agency,

Some quotes:
In developing these capabilities, newspapers are following a trail blazed by upstart digital publishers such as BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and Vice Media. BuzzFeed ...
The opportunity, she says, is to “give brands a new way to talk to their audience” by creating original forms of advertising with the same journalistic flair as the publisher’s editorial coverage.
And even when an article is clearly branded, readers often struggle to interpret exactly what terms such as “sponsored” mean.
The Guardian, for example, uses “sponsored” to label “editorially independent” content produced by its journalists “to the same standards expected in all of our journalism”.

Complicating matters, it (The Guardian) uses other terms – such as “brought to you by” and “advertisement feature” – to describe content that is both paid for and produced by an advertiser.
To prevent commercial pressures from corrupting their journalism, news publishers have traditionally maintained a strict separation between their business teams and their journalists. ... Known within the industry as the “separation of church and state” ...
The New York Times has adopted a similar stance to BuzzFeed, creating all of its sponsored content within a dedicated team that sits in its advertising department.
For readers, such distinctions are subtle and easy to miss. But the increasingly close embrace between church and state within some publishers has important ramifications for the future of news.
One other aspect of potential interest to journalists, translators and their professional associations is whether they should be thinking about using such strategies to promote themselves. There's food for thought there I feel. 

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