There was a time when the only job a journalist could do inside a big corporation was to work in public relations. But in the past few years journalists have started leaping into corporations with titles like “managing editor,” and a role that involves running a corporate newsroom.
Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle all operate newsrooms. Maersk, the shipping company, has a news operation. So does Nissan, the Japanese automaker. LinkedIn has a managing editor. So does GE. Three big venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Battery Ventures, have hired in-house journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Forbes, respectively.
It’s not just big companies, either. Kapost, a small startup in Boulder, Colo., hired Jesse Noyes, a former Boston Herald reporter, to run its content marketing operation. I’m another example. I’m the former technology editor at Newsweek, and now I’m a blogger at HubSpot, a 650-person marketing software company in Cambridge, Mass.
Not only are a lot of companies getting into the media business, some are creating legitimate journalism. As I wrote recently after seeing the amazing work that Microsoft is doing on its Stories website, “It’s Happening: Corporate Media Is Getting Better than Mainstream Media.”
At the same time, media companies are increasingly running content created by companies. So-called native advertising now runs on BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and Business Insider, as well as august brands like Forbes, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and New York Times. Some media companies even operate studios to create that sponsored content. Basically, they’re building in-house advertising agencies.
Brands are moving into the space once occupied by media companies, while media companies are moving into digital marketing. These two worlds -- the world of media and the world of marketing -- are smashing into each other, and producing all sorts of weird new hybrids. It’s not so surprising, when you consider that in fact these two worlds have always had a symbiotic relationship.