I want to start this blog post by clearly stating that this is not a political piece. My views on who is the president of the United States, who was, or who will be, have nothing to do with the content of this blog post.
I’m writing this blog entry only to express my opinions on copywriting and journalism as crafts. Because I’ve noticed a pattern from years about the two, and now I feel confident enough to express to you.
I’d like to state my views on how news coverage has changed from the times I was a child to this day. How “news as a business” has shaped the way news are presented to you. And how copywriting and journalism are becoming the same.
So, let’s dive into my three post-election day observations on copywriting and journalism.
3 Observations from Election Coverages
Before you get my thoughts, I’d like to point you towards two articles I read in preparation for this blog post. These essays offer you valid information you can use to formulate your own opinions.
The first article comes from Study.com, and it’s titled Copywriter vs Journalist: What’s Difference?. This piece covers what sets apart a copywriter from a journalist. It includes information on what a copywriter and journalist are, their education, and their salary.
The second piece was written by Jean Tang for MarketSmiths. The article, 6 Reasons Journalists Don’t Make Automatic Copywriters—and Vice Versa covers – as the title suggests – six ways that copywriters are different from journalists. Among those differences, there’s the level of confidence, storytelling techniques, and sense of urgency.
Now, drawing from those two essays, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, here are three observations I’ve made regarding copywriting and journalism.
News Coverage Is No Longer About Reporting
When you turn on the TV to your favorite news channel – back in my day it was your favorite television PROGRAM, but I digress – … do you do it to watch reports on what’s going on around your region, state, or country? Or do you just want to watch people validate your ideals while squashing the contrarian for your entertainment?
Whenever I get a chance to watch the news on TV or listen on the radio, I barely get journalistic work. Instead, you get 50 seconds of a news report followed by 20 minutes of opinionated discussion advancing whatever agenda the show/station wants to put out.
I get the feeling that news coverage has stopped being about “presenting the news and letting the public use their critical thinking to get to a conclusion”. Instead, it has become “presenting the news and pushing the political we feel our audience will tune in to validate. And I am not the only one feeling this way.
According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, about eight-in-ten Americans (79%) believe news coverage leans towards one side of the political agenda. But the public is not blaming the journalists for that behavior – they put the blame on whoever is running the news media outlets. Which leads me to my next point…
The Business of News
On June 1st, 1980, Ted Turner launches the CNN network – an event that changes the way we consume news forever. And the event that turns news reporting from a public service to a Bonafide business.
Yes – by the late sixties, local stations knew that there could be capitalization of the news. But it wasn’t until the launch of CNN when the media outlets realize the true market potential behind news coverage. Of course, with the success of CNN comes the launch of FOX News, CNBC, and other 24/7 news channels.
Now – this is just my opinion – this is where copywriting and journalism start intertwining to the point where they have become unrecognizable within the news industry. Newscasters now sound more like salespeople, especially in the newspaper field, trying to promote their political beliefs by way of news reporting. Which has now made people’s feelings on the news media be the same as the salespeople – distrust until proven otherwise.
When I was a kid, the news was on at 6 AM, 12 PM, 5 PM, and 10 PM. Now, because of the potential revenue to be generated, it’s a 24-hour thing. Filling pockets and ruining reputations in the process.
Journalism Is Dead
There’s enough proof that shows journalism is dead – at least the way we know it.
If the news media outlets focus more on the bottom line than presenting ethical news reporting, you will get sensationalized reporting; tailoring it to validate the opinions of that psychographic they want to keep hooked.
I don’t see a realistic way in which we can bring true, ethical back. I mean, I’m sure the big corporations are not willing to take an L in the name of journalism. And I’m certain that the people with the morals to present news “the way it should be” do not have the economic backup to do so.
For those reasons, journalism is on a deathbed, best case scenario.
Have Copywriting and Journalism Become One and the Same?
Copywriting and journalism have become the same. Journalism reporting has taken a backseat to entertaining articles that validate the opinions of a psychographic. Because of that, news mediums are concerned about their bottom line over promoting critical thinking. And thus, ethical and unbiased news reporting has been pushed aside for content that promotes an ideal or political agenda.
Do you agree with my opinion on copywriting and journalism becoming the same? Leave a comment telling me your side of the story. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!