Being a journalist-slash-marketer may seem like a paradox, but in today’s world, journalists must be marketers and marketers must be journalists.
Luckily, large newspapers like The New York Times are realizing this, as shown in an AdAge.com article about the Times‘ increased use of social media and two-way communication tools. In the article, the author writes USA Today, the Times and The Wall Street Journal are all still trying to grasp social media by asking itself following questions:
Should social media belong to a designated editor, to the whole staff or both?
Is a staff evangelist for social media ever finished with her work?
And what happens when the next big thing bubbles up?
I found this interesting because it’s not something only journalists and editors are thinking about. It’s essentially something the marketing world is grappling with, too. And aren’t journalists essentially marketers? While they may report and write unbiased stories, they still need to market that content if they hope to have a readership and make a living from it. If entire companies are structuring their operations to focus around the principles of social media (engaging, relationship-building, etc.), why would news organizations be any different?
I’m also glad the Times has realized how journalists can do their jobs more effectively through social media. In the article, Jennifer Preston, the Times‘ social media editor, helped journalists “report, curate content and engage readers” through social media. This is exactly what I wrote about in my undergraduate thesis last year.
I hope large news organizations like the Times will continue to use these tools. With time, it will prove quite beneficial to journalists and society alike.