There has been much talk about the need to be authentic in 2015. We’ve discussed it plenty with people questioning integrity of brands and their purpose. And it seems like a week can’t pass us by without the financial grounds of a celebrity’s patronage for a charity making front page news. So when Peter Oborne very publicly resigned from his role as Chief Political Editor of The Telegraph, we sat up very straight and paid special attention. His laments on his ex-employers’ coverage of the HSBC tax avoidance scandal expressed despair, betrayal and labelled it a “fraud on its readers”.
In many ways it’s not so different to the HSBC scandal itself; discussions and deals behind closed doors, loyalty to the powerful whilst the everyday reader is undermined.
Why aren’t lessons being learnt? Surely the most valuable form of press is one with integrity, loyalty to its readers and an overriding duty to serve the public the TRUTH, as Oborne so graciously put it in his piece.
The main concerns that Oborne lists in his blog are the following:
- The distinction between the editorial and advertising department is collapsing
- There is huge, undeniable influence from corporate partners on content out of fear of losing advertising revenue
- Online visits are more valuable than a story’s importance, accuracy and appeal to its readers
What can we do to change this attitude? Are we all going to succumb to such reporting?
In essence, the mass of noise is both a curse and a gift. Whilst outlets are becoming more concerned about securing readership over the competition, it’s refreshing to know that these ‘all powerful’ outlets can be challenged by something as simple as a blog post.
Is this a call for more devolution? The collapse in distinction between the editorial and advertising departments screams that their original purpose is not being served, and therefore the model is not sustainable.
With household names in the media twisting and glossing over core, important issues for the sake of their own revenues and at the expense of their own reputation and credibility, the rest of us down here are keeping it cool.
The landscape has changed and still is changing and the more you try to control what is being said about you, the more it’s going to blow up in your face.
Speak with actions, serve with purpose and stay true to your audience.