As newsrooms shrink and the public relations industry continues to grow its influence, the two are becoming increasingly indistinguishable.
A prime example of this is Nissan.
The Financial Times
recently published a story highlighting the car company’s newsroom approach to PR. The article, which can be accessed without going through FT
’s paywall here
, highlights a recent trip by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn to an earthquake-damaged plant in Iwaki, Japan.
“The outing was typical for one of the industry’s most publicity-friendly CEOs. But the camera crew were not journalists, or subcontractors hired to film the event. They were employees of the in-house ‘newsroom’ Nissan created in April.”
The footage was streamed on YouTube and a rough-cut and polished cut were posted in Nissan’s online newsroom within hours.
Nissan’s self-produced material, the article states, is being linked to on top auto blogs. The company’s video of its Nissan Leaf Nismo RC electric sports car, for example, went viral.
The automaker is yet another example of “brand journalism,” in which brands hire former journalists to publish material as if they’re a media outlet. Nissan, for example, has recruited TV and print journalists from BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg Businessweek
, and others, FT
Former Reuters reporter Dan Sloan is the man behind Nissan’s newsroom. He told FT
“Traditional public relations is not that sophisticated—it’s something that is so heavy-handed that it can be potentially unwatchable or unreadable. In coming to this enterprise, what I said from day one was: ‘It won’t work if it comes off as state television—it’s got to be much more interesting than traditional marketing communications attempts have been.’”