Written by Noemi Pollack on November 8, 2010.
For all the times that a company has been frustrated in not getting a journalist’s attention resulting in not capturing in depth coverage (primarily because journalists are currently too busy covering too many beats due to budget cuts), there is now a new plan afoot to circumvent it all. Corporations are forming their own media companies and hiring journalists to staff it, in order to focus on getting out company news – all under the watchful eye of the corporation, of course.
Apparently with creativity and deep pockets, there is always a solution to a problem. Of course, it takes the “big elephant” to do this.
Intel is one of those companies that gets this concept very well. The company has put together an editorial team that seeks to use the best journalistic practices to publish its own news magazine that is purported to contain high-quality news, features and video. It will be separate from its newsroom, but staffed by some of Intel’s corporate communications team.
According to Bill Calder, previously press secretary to Sen. Mark Hatfield in Washington D.C., before that, a regional correspondent for The Oregonian, and now managing editor for Intel Free Press, “We know we have the expertise in-house to report on these stories so, we thought, why not do it ourselves?”
Indeed, why not? You really can’t blame corporations for trying to take control of their destiny, that is, if it turns out that they can…
But what considerations have been given as to the source? Will it be credible only because of Intel’s iconic brand? What about other companies that follow suit? Calder recognizes this challenge, saying, “People tend to distrust corporate blogs, so we have to show that our stories are fair and of high quality, so that people trust us.”
Still, stories that are reported and produced by writers employed by any company seem to defy the very essence of objective journalism, as we know it.
Here is the thing…Journalists are grateful for information. They have traditionally received it from corporate press kits, electronic or otherwise, website company press centers or simply through persistent PR people pitching story ideas. This now, presents a new platform that will essentially duplicate, and possibly overshadow, the older information tools.
The question remains as to whether it will be seen by other news media as a resource for news, welcoming it for its thoroughness and in depth information, on which to build their own “news” story, or whether journalists will take the stance that, once covered by the Free Press, it will be seen as second-hand news and therefore not get covered, which will defeat Intel’s objectives in the first place.
The danger is that news organizations might see Intel Free Press as a competitor. It is possible that they might not cover a story because Intel has already written that story. Journalists remain steadfast in their pursuit of “news scoops.” But according to Intel Free Press, Intel won’t be writing those types of stories.
Hard to say…