Everyone needs a ‘wake-up call’
We are living in a real melting pot. We can’t be purists, and if we must position ourselves, let it be where the people are.
It hasn’t been easy times for journalists. In recent years, not just in Brazil, media groups have suffered at the hands of digital innovation, disrupting the whole business model, and dramatically impacting revenues. It has also meant massive layoffs and we’ve even seen big publications closing their doors. Influencers arrived, as the new opinion-leaders, and they have started to be treated as the new journalists, even without any commitment or need to prove themselves, and pretty soon everyone has become the media.
Pretty soon came the post-truth, the fake news, the rebirth of Twitter, an amalgamation of truths, falsehoods, investigated, made up, manipulated for great interest; there’s simply no end. Sometimes you might read the news and not even know it’s real, if it’s been proven wrong, updated, verified or unmistaken; if the absurd has been made real, if the reasonable has been made up, or even if it happened to begin with.
Then, someone goes on the counter-attack. Right at the epicenter paid media, influencers, social media, paid and owned posts, they explain that what they do is (still) important and will continue. Obviously, there were many people who criticized the Washington Post for placing an ad during the Super Bowl, the most expensive advertising real estate in the galaxy. Criticism ranged anywhere from journalist shouldn’t be used in advertising, to that money should have been used to pay their writer’s salaries – they are, of course, the engine of it all.
If we are living in a real melting pot, where we can’t be purist, and where we must position ourselves, let it be where the people are. The Washington Post didn’t turn its back on journalism, on the contrary. It went where the people are and called them back, demonstrating how difficult, important, essential, indispensable, and many other things they say during those million-dollar seconds, it is to do real journalism.
An interesting point of fact is that regulators/business leaders, opinion leaders, and brands flow in and out of social media, in a flurry of actions and speaking their minds. However, it seems that when there’s something more serious, they naturally revert back to traditional media channels. Trump goes on TV to talk about the shutdown; Vale organizes daily press briefings to explain the unexplainable; brands will often use newspapers and magazines to make important announcements. This makes me think that perhaps, after the storm, journalism will eventually find its way back.