“Corporate Journalism:” More Effective than Corporate Communications?

Might there be such a thing as a truly journalistic approach to corporate communications? I’ve been seeing the phrase “corporate journalism” tossed around lately, and it has me wondering…

I think, in part, this depends on your personal definition of “journalism” – for it is indeed a subjective and malleable concept.

For some people, “journalism” is a quasi-sacred term reserved strictly for the product of traditional news organizations (or journalism schools) and the writers, editors, photographers, and producers who receive their training there. Others don’t believe traditional news organizations hold a monopoly on journalism – and their definition of “journalism” might include independent publishing efforts such as certain personal Web sites and weblogs, ‘zines, community radio or tv. For some people, goals such as objectivity and practices such as source requirements independent confirmation are the hallmarks of “real journalism,” while others think that journalism and advocacy are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

But what about official corporate/organizational communications projects such as newsletters, intranets, Web sites, and HR materials? Can these efforts adopt a journalistic approach that would be more meaningful than a veneer? What might be the advantages for this approach, and its potential pitfalls? Is “corporate journalism” anything more than a propaganda strategy?…
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RSS Feed Nickname Contest: Voting Has Closed

Sunday Feb. 29 was the FINAL DAY of voting for the CONTENTIOUS RSS Feed Nickname Contest (Contest info)

From the whittled-down list of 46 front-runner nicknames, these garnered the most votes:

  • 1st place: Elert
  • 2nd place: WebFeed
  • 3rd place: Webstract
  • 4th place: Efeed
  • 5th place: Grapevine
  • Tied for 6th place: Feed, NewsFeed, and SiteFeed

The final decision will be made shortly by our panel of judges…
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Content Management Systems: Your Pet Peeves?

I’ve been asked to write a few articles about content management systems. (What’s a CMS? Here’s a brief explanation. For that matter, weblog software is a kind of CMS.)

Anyway, I’m doing some initial research, gathering ideas for these articles. I know that many CONTENTIOUS readers use some kind of CMS. Frankly, there are already enough vendor- and consultant-authored articles and white papers out there touting the glories of CMS. And to be fair, a CMS can be wonderful.

However, I find that the most useful articles on technology topics tend to come from the real user experience, particularly frustrations about glitches and shortcomings…
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Ads in RSS Feeds

So far, RSS feeds have generally been ad-free. But that’s likely to change, as RSS feeds become more popular and as the ad industry starts to get a clue about this new online medium.

Today in Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits, I wrote about how some advertisers are starting their first forays into RSS-land.

I don’t think that ads in RSS feeds are necessarily a bad idea, but I think they need to be handled very carefully…
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Evading Site Registration: Ethical Pros and Cons

Earlier in CONTENTIOUS I blogged BugMeNot, a site that shares account access information for registration-required content sites. Personally, it strikes me as needlessly invasive when sites require me register in order to access free content. I don’t want them tracking my personal reading habits. They’re getting to serve ads to me with their content no matter what, and as far as I’m concerned I owe them nothing more.

However, paid content is another matter entirely. If a site charges for access to its content, and paid subscriber accounts have a username and password, then in my opinion sharing paid account access information IS stealing. I do have a problem with outright theft.

A recent entry in the Weblog of the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (generously translated for me today by CONTENTIOUS reader Realf Ottesen) tipped me off that BugMeNot might be sharing paid account access information, at least inadvertently.

Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case. However, the issue of sharing paid account access info opens up a whole new can of ethical worms…
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ClickZ Article: No More Online PowerPoint! Right On!

Ah…. It’s so nice to know I make a difference…

My earlier rant, PowerPoint Presentations Online: No! Stop! Don’t!!! caught the attention of Susan Solomon, Executive Director of Marketing and PR for Memorial Health Services and a columnist for the well-known online marketing publication ClickZ

Solomon’s latest column, just posted today, is More Power, More to the Point. It begins:

“Just before packing for my first presentation in Europe, I chanced upon Amy Gahran’s anti-PowerPoint treatise. It startled me, as I’d just put the finishing touches on what I considered a dazzling PowerPoint show for my continental debut. …But Gahran’s right. PowerPoint presentations have no business being posted on Web sites. In many cases, PowerPoint presentations have no business in business.”

YEAH! Solomon GETS it!
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Norway: Dagbladet Blogs CONTENTIOUS

Interestingly, I’ve been blogged in the weblog of Dagbladet, a major newspaper in Norway. The entry is about the freethepresses and BugMeNot stuff I blogged earlier. There have been several comments to the Dagbladet entry.

Earlier today, I’d asked whether any Norwegian-speaking CONTENTIOUS readers would care to translate that article for me. Realf Ottesen most generously obliged. (Thanks, Realf!) The Dagbladet blog entry was pretty basic, mainly just notifying people about the freethepresses and BugMeNot strategies for site access. The comments mainly concerned password tips.

However, the comments to this entry did bring to light one troublesome issue about BugMeNot, which I discuss in this entry.

Blogging for Brain Augmentation

My brain is not enough! Too often, thoughts occur to me, or connections become apparent, that I very much wish to remember and use… but then along comes a flood of additional thoughts, and distractions, and minutiae, and so my moments of clarity dissolve into the infohaze.

I hate that.

Blogging can help minimize the loss of precious ideas, if used judiciously. Think of it as a personal knowledge management system“– or a “backup brain.”

I can’t claim this as my own idea. Here are some of the best writings I’ve found on this topic…
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Thinking Visually: RSS Logo?

Words are not all there is to communication. Well-crafted images – such as logos – can instantly convey important concepts, tone, or context. While I’ve been hacking away at the terminology end of the challenge of explaining RSS feeds (with my nickname contest, which ends this Sunday), CONTENTIOUS reader Antone Roundy is tackling the visuals.

Roundy has started a weblog called Info Bite List which discusses various issues about RSS feeds and which also encourages people to vote in my contest for the nickname he entered, Info Bite List. On Feb. 19, Roundy designed a simple but, in my opinion, effective little logo that conveys the RSS feed concept. It’s five blue balls that appear to stream out of the distance.

The small version of the logo looks like this: Roundy's small RSS icon

Here’s the large version: Roundy's large RSS icon

Here’s how Roundy describes this logo…
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TrackBack at News Sites: Why Not?

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the content potential of TrackBack. Today, I contributed a related item to the Poynter Institute’s weblog E-Media Tidbits entitled “News Sites Should Use TrackBack.” Check it out.

I would love it if mainstream news sites would send TrackBack pings to sites they link to from stories, and if they would publish at the end of each story a list of TrackBack pings that story has received.

Why? Well…
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