Postings from the Edge

Global PR, new PR, social media and printing ink

Friday, 18 January 2008

The subject of objectivity

Objectivity and its implications for ethics in the PR and journalism communities is an issue at the moment and has been neatly covered by Peter Brill at Net.Mentor.

Ethics seems to be one of the new battlegrounds in the media industry. While PR and journalism have always had a love hate relationship, it seems to me that things have been worsened by the advent of social media. It was easier when you were defined by which side of the publishing fence you were on, although as Peter describes there has always been that grey area in trade/business to business publications.

But now, PR professionals and journalists are meant to be all things to all men and also have to compete with all men when it comes to breaking news, spreading news and having an opinion about. It's difficult to feel sure about yourself when the basis for your existence starts dissolving. The results?

All in all it could be pretty depressing - I for one have a foot in all these camps and I know others as well. After years of knowing what to do and how to do it, its hard to be confronted every other week with a new idea you have to take a position on. But, you know what? I think it is pretty exciting. We are on a moving escalator and no amount of whinging or complaining or disagreeing is going to stop the escalator. (Although sometimes it is difficult to see whether it's going up or down).

I'm not depressed because I try and look for the wood and not the trees. I have a sneaking sympathy for all sides. So until things change again I'll carry a newspaper because it is still the ultimate format for readability and portability, I'll keep a tag on my industries through trade mags and the growing number of web sites that complement them, I'll post on forums, receive messages on email subscription lists, follow my friends on Facebook, keep tabs on my professional life through LinkedIn, read opinions on blogs fed to my RSS reader and use Twitter and Jaiku because I might need to know about them in the future.

Despite their differences, most people in these various camps, despite what their detractors say and what they say about others, are not looking for what's best, but what works. That can only be positive.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Skype investor buys Danish free paper

Slightly batty Danish IT investor Morten Lund has taken over control of the Danish free newspaper Nyhedsavisen (Newspaper in English). The Danish media have reported the story with a mixture of amazement - the paper has made a loss since it launched in October 2006 - and glee. The glee of course coming from the fact that one of the many upstarts in their business is losing money faster than they are - slightly faster anyway.

But hang on. While Morten gives the impression of being slightly disorganized in his blog writing he has made some shrewd decisions over the years about where to put his money (such as being an early investor in Skype). He has a thoroughly good grounding in the workings of advertising, media and the internet that could stand Nyhedsavisen in good stead.

While most reporters have focused on Morten buying a newspaper, it'll be interesting to see how much paper is actually involved. I'd take a bet that what he has actually bought is a content platform that spans the virtual and the real worlds.

Morten Lund køber Nyhedsavisen - Medier & reklame

» Measuring the influence of social media

Edelman and others have released a good white paper that looks at the challenges and possibilities of measuring the influence of social media. The white paper is an attempt to further the discussion started in July last year on Edelman's  Social Media Index (SMI).

 » Distributed Influence white paper (or son of SMI) sixtysecondview: Sixty second interviews from pr, media and politics