Newspapers dying RIP

“Newspapers are going to go downhill.  Most newspapers, the transition to the internet so far hasn’t worked in digital.”
–Warren Buffett

If you haven’t seen John Oliver’s riff on the state of journalism…you must watch it! Trust me it’s worth it.
Not only is it funny but it’s also sadly true. Newspapers are folding. TV stations need newspapers…watch and you’ll see what I mean. (I know this firsthand.)

What’s coming? The BRAND NEWSROOM

More than 20 years ago, I submitted my first video demo reel to television stations around the country. I was young and green and received a lot of rejection letters. After more training and valuable internships, I finally landed an on-air job reporting for a news station in San Diego, my hometown, and stayed there for 15 years.

Today, if I were looking for a job in journalism, my list wouldn’t be focused on just the Media, itself. GE, Microsoft, Oracle, Maersk, Coca Cola, Cleveland Clinic, Wells Fargo, Nissan, Cisco, Intel and many other very large corporations would be on the list. My desired beat coverage would help me decide where to apply.

Corporations are no longer waiting for the media to tell their stories. These companies are employing journalists in the same way as news media corporations. Journalists transitioning out of traditional news were once hired for jobs at corporations only as a public relations employee. Now, though, these companies want their own newsrooms, so they’re turning to the journalists to fill positions such as managing editor, beat reporter, TV Web host, and associate producer.

Media losing journalists to corporations

The content that these companies are turning out rivals the content that the actual news media release. Its objective is to intrigue, engage, create conversation, and develop brand awareness. The content has a high social share value because it informs. The companies aren’t necessarily measuring the success of the brand journalism efforts by a dollar result of more sales. Rather, they’re looking for engagement and opportunities to connect with the right people as future customers.

The journalists who are hired by these corporations are not only writing content for the consumer, they’re also helping to “plant seeds” for traditional journalists. Their hope to influence traditional journalists to cover the same story is working. Stories that were originated by companies are cropping up in traditional newsrooms. This is validation that the company is turning out newsworthy content and establishing credibility with news media and consumers.

Read this article, Going to Extremes, by Tomas Kellner, a former business reporter at Forbes who is now employed as managing editor of the online publication, GE Reports. The story is about flying into some of the world’s most extreme airports. Let’s identify why Kellner’s story works.

His audience is tech enthusiasts, decision-makers, thought leaders, travelers, consumers with an interest in technology and the world and the company’s own employees at GE. The story is written like a news story. The aim isn’t just to sell. It’s to inform, provide some history and background and to showcase great featured images. If you’re a world traveler or aviator, this story will likely interest you. The accompanying video draws you in, regardless of whether you fall into the two previous categories, because of the high-quality footage, beautiful landscapes, and story. The reports are reviewed by GE but Kellner has the freedom to tell the story the way a journalist would and that’s what makes it excellent brand journalism. Kudos to GE Reports for this story.

Media outlets are also accepting much of this content and running it on their websites and even on TV as a form of “native” advertising. It’s content created by companies but it’s filling space in large publications such as the New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more.

Getting started in telling a company’s story doesn’t have to involve hiring a complete newsroom staff. You can start by getting some guidance from a journalist. Having at least one brand journalist to work with or consult with your company can help you learn to plant seeds in your own industry to eventually sprout in traditional media outlets and consumer social shares.

Here are five ways you can take your brand into the spotlight and become your own media publishing company without traditional media attention.

Think like a news journalist…and, more specifically, a brand journalist—a reporter who writes about companies from a news perspective. In other words, look for the real newsworthy hook about your brand.

Consistently create informational and educational quality content using Video News Stories, articles and brand photo-journalism about your company’s industry rather than just a myopic description of your product or service. Make sure the stories have a news hook.

Turn part of your staff meetings into “news” content meetings. Ask your staff to think like newsroom journalists and brainstorm ideas to create an editorial calendar of upcoming story coverage.

Tease your audience. Share your editorial calendar with your web visitors. Let them know to be on the watch for the next interesting story.

Repurpose your content (Video News Stories and articles) for multimedia platforms from the Web to TV to print to radio and social media networks. Create your content once and then make it work for you over and over again. That’s putting muscle in your marketing.

This strategic style of storytelling is changing the way the world receives information. It’s changing the way companies communicate their message. And it’s changing the way traditional media gathers information. The press release is not the best way to reach traditional journalists.

“The ultimate goal is to retire the press release. It’s a great holder for facts, but you’d never want to read one. We want to tell stories,” said Kellner in an interview with Contently.

Around the globe, the journalism industry is rapidly changing and in the newspaper industry that means a lot of journalists are saying goodbye to the newsroom. Read this article, Last Journalists Exit The Birthplace Of Modern News.

This should be your cue as a brand to start telling your own stories and building your own brand newsroom.

Note: This post was originally posted in June 2014. New information has been added to update the article.

Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to “Be the Media”. Phoebe is the host of “The Brand Journalism Advantage” podcast and a “Top 50 Podcaster To Follow”. Listen in iTunes or at