Tuesday 11th June: Excuses, excuses, excuses (for greenwashing from news orgs)

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One of the preeminent philosophers of our time once said, “I stood for nothing — so I fell for everything”. Well, at a time where audiences are more discerning and less trusting than ever before, it’s important that news organisations declare where they stand on issues that matter to their public. There’s an awful lot of intersectionality between the moral issues of the day — but one of the most important for the public is whether their chosen news outlets are complicit in greenwashing and greenhushing.

The Guardian reports that: “News organizations have in recent years come under fire for the practice, and especially for placing oil ads alongside coverage of the climate crisis”. It also highlights titles like the NYT which have pledged to ban oil and gas companies from sponsoring its climate newsletter and events, but continued to do so using mealy-mouthed excuses citing situational applicability.

Personally, I believe that those advocating for news outlets to accept money from oil and gas companies are indulging in short-termism. I’ve always hated the concept of fiduciary responsibility outweighing damage to the public and the planet — and I think that’s doubly true for news organisations. Moreover, I don’t think that the public will reward news organisations that betray their interests.

Don’t forget: SMBs are being left out of the conversation when it comes to digital advertising — and it’s costing publishers as well. Read our piece on how Smartico is helping to solve that problem [N.B. Smartico can be found at smartico.one]

Diversification is the name of the game — even for newswires like the Associated Press. It’s a recognition that the knock-on effect from media businesses model erosion is hitting all parts of the ecosystem, and that storied organisations like the AP aren’t immune from what is a frighteningly difficult time for the news business.

It’s been a long while since I laughed so heartily as such an excoriating sentence as the following from Jack Schafer in Politico: “Whether you believe the reporting from the Washington Post, the New York Times and NPR or you believe Lewis, he seems to know squat about how to talk to reporters — especially considering his long-tenure as a top reporter and editor in England before moving over to the business side.” Ouch! Hard to see how this could be going worse, really.

Finally, we’ve been including practical tips for journalists in this newsletter since it began. As much as we like to focus on media business models, there simply aren’t any without journalists. And one of the main practical concerns for journalists over the past few years has been how to report on perpetual crises without burning out. This feature from journalism.co.uk makes it plain that the practical solution is… supporting one another. Who knew?

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