This week in brand publishing:
- Climate change is the story of our times, yet many remain hesitant to associate themselves with it. Not Salesforce, which is showing how it can be done with the launch of a new documentary show.
- Fashion editors are leaving their journalism jobs to launch content-driven brands
- Brand publishers must give their editorial teams independence, and build journalism-style “church-state divides” between groups.
- We’re curating new and notable jobs in brand publishing. New roles added this week include opportunities at Novartis, Talkiatry and Oracle.
The sticky problem of climate change
When working as a cub reporter at AdAge many years ago, I recall the publisher had an for a “digital” reporter – a beat that at the time was relatively nascent. The idea was that the digital reporter would cover the uniquely digital aspects of the media and marketing industries.
The concept of course feels strange and outdated now, since “digital,” or tech, pervades every single topic, story and beat.
Climate change – probably the news story of our times – present a similar dynamic. It’s a horizontal topic that will increasingly permeate any story, article or piece of content, and doesn’t fit neatly into a “beat” or coverage area in the way that media companies and brand publishers might like. It’s caused some issues with how traditional media can cover it (Nieman wrote previously about how journalists seem to be struggling to cover it at all) but it does present an opportunity for brands, who should be able to capitalize on the horizontality of the topic and cover it with an angle that makes most sense for their specific expertise, points of view and business.
Despite this, companies can often be reluctant to touch climate-related issues because it remains, to many companies, a largely “political” issue. It’s best avoided, in case it alienates their customers, clients or stakeholders.
Some brand publishers are taking a different approach, however, and addressing the issue head-on. Last week, Salesforce+ launched a new series, called The Ecopreneurs. Produced by Fortune Brand Studio, the documentary-style series will release new monthly episodes, and will explore how entrepreneurs are fighting climate change in their communities and on the global stage.
Salesforce+ remains an ambitious brand publishing project, a fully fledged streaming destination launched in August that streams shows that ladder up to its mission of spotlighting people who change the world via their businesses. And now, by showing how brands can effectively cover sticky or “taboo” topics, it also presents another reason for brands to watch it closely.
Who’s hiring in brand publishing
We’re now curating new and notable job vacancies and roles from across the brand publishing world in one place with a new jobs resource on the Toolkits site. Our goal is to give Toolkits readers an easy, centralized place to uncover and connect with the best career opportunities out there. Jobs added this week include content roles at Oracle, Novartis and Talkiatry.
In the fashion industries the journalist-to-brand-publisher route is well-worn, and even crowded.
Now, a number of fashion editors are leaving jobs inside publications to not just run content for brands, but launch brands that are decidedly content-driven. The Financial Times profiled a few of these journalist-founded-brands, including plus-size line Henning, founded by former Glamour features editor Lauren Chan; Colville Official, by former British Vogue editor Lucinda Chambers; Sidia, by Covetueur co-founder Erin Kleinberg; Attesee, by The New York Times Style Magazine’s digital director Isabel Wilkinson, and Dollchunk, by Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and NYT alum Kristen Bateman.
This was a path blazed by the original content-meets-brand, Glossier, which turned its Into The Gloss brand publication into a full-fledged company. Journalists have some built-in skills that may be advantageous, the FT notes, including parlaying a visual component into a new business and the ability to port current readers and audiences into customer bases for new ventures. It may also be a chance for journalists to “reclaim social capital” at a time many don’t have much of it, says the FT.
Does publishing need passion?
Joshua Benton at NiemanLab has a scathing analysis of why so many reporters, writers and content creators are expected to have “passion” as a core requirement for jobs in publishing.
Based on a recent paper by a Scandinavian quartet of researchers, published in Journalism Studies, the piece dives deep into why journalists (and by extension, many many writers and reporters across industries) are expected to have “passion.”
It’s notable because it’s become practically table stakes to demand “passion” for the subject matter, or the company’s mission from the people that are applying to jobs. It feels much more prevalent in publishing roles, where, the paper notes: “The findings point to commodification of feelings and exploitation of emotional labour in journalism.” It’s a real problem, leading to, as we’ve written about before, mismatched incentives and use of “passion” as a way of obfuscating low salaries and imbalanced workloads. Brands looking to hire journalists must think about approaching the roles in a way that offers both financial security (higher pay) and challenging roles that can keep people engaged.