I find the new media discussion on personal branding and whether its ruining journalism to be one big waste of time. But it has been entertaining.
That shift actually occurred about three to four years ago when, in my view, skills like community management, content strategy and content marketing became more well known and part of normal business practices. It’s time to move on.
The one glaring problem that maybe the example between Steve Buttry and Gene Weingarten proves is this: Traditionally, media companies and journalists haven’t viewed content as a business asset, while other industries outside of publishing have embraced it.
Journalism has an ethic of “objectivity” that pushes us to pretend we are objects, not people. And you can’t develop a personal brand without being a person and being seen as one. – Buttry
The truth is every business, person, brand or journalist with a blog, Twitter account or Facebook fan page is a brand and a publisher. So is the guy sitting in his mother’s basement uploading videos on YouTube.
Of course, the problem with the whole argument here is that Weingarten is a brand, and he kind of knows it. He even says as much in his own way.
When I was a hungry young reporter in the 1970s, I thought of myself as a superman, an invincible crusader for truth and justice — even though, looking back at old pictures, I now see that I resembled an emaciated weasel in unattractive clothing. My goals, however, were unambiguous, and heroic: 1) Get great stories that improve the world. 2) Get famous. 3) Get doe-eyed young women to lean in close and whisper, “Take me.” – Weingarten