PR and the future of news

There’s been a lot of talk lately of the future of the news.  In the past two days there have been two stories on how PR and corporate communications might play a role.  Today’s story was “Pepsi sees a chance to fill newspaper’s void“.

This – and another story yesterday on PR people becoming investigative journalists – are both interesting.  But they’re also both a little inane.  I am a big advocate for companies to create content and to go straight to the consumer – but that doesn’t equal filling the void of newspapers or being journalists.  Corporate communication organizations aren’t objective news sources – and nor are PR people disinterested observers.  (Not that the traditional media is always objective of course.)

The other problem with this idea is that there are some important stories that either a) are not terribly interesting or sexy (but which still need to see the light of day or b) organizations don’t want out there and so they will stonewall eager PR people looking to expose their dark secrets.

While ink on paper might be going away, reporting isn’t and there are plenty of people doing totally great work telling stories that need to be told in new ways.  Global Voices is an example of blog aggregation used to share news from around the world, Global Post combines professional journalists and bloggers to present news from around the world; there’s also Now Public which is crowd sourced news and finally sources like Breaking News Online which seemingly have reporters providing real-time updates.

These all stand a chance of become the future of reporting – and I hope that will be the case.

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