NOTE: This blog post about copywriting and journalism was drafted on November 9th of 2020.
I want to start this blog post by saying 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 for a couple of years about the two – and now I feel confident enough to express to you.
I’d like to tell 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 you get your news reports. And how I believe copywriting and journalism have become the same.
So, let’s dive into my three post-election day observations on copywriting and journalism.
Before I give my thoughts, I’d like to point you to a couple of 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 the 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.
Jean Tang wrote the second piece 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 about copywriting and journalism.
When you turn on the TV to your favorite news channel – back in my day it was your favorite news 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 confirm 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 featuring a bunch of “controversial” talking heads 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 blamed whoever is running the news media outlets. This leads me to my next point…
On June 1st of 1980, Ted Turner launched the CNN network – a move that changed the way we consume news forever. And the event that turned news reporting from a public service to a bonafide business.
Yes – by the late 60s, local stations knew that there could be capitalization of the news. But it wasn’t until the launch of CNN that the media outlets realized the true market potential behind news coverage. Of course, with the success of CNN came the launching of FOX News, CNBC, and other 24/7 news channels.
Now (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 television, trying to promote their beliefs by way of news reporting.
That 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 media stations can generate, it’s a 24-hour thing.
Filling pockets and (in my point of view) ruining reputations.
There’s enough proof that shows journalism is dead.
When the news media outlets focus more on the bottom line than presenting ethical news reporting, you get sensationalized reporting to validate the opinions of a specific psychographic.
I don’t see a reality in which we can bring true, ethical news reporting back – at least in the mainstream.
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 done don’t have the economic backup to do so.
For those reasons, journalism is on a deathbed, best case scenario.
Copywriting and journalism have become the same. News mediums worry more about their bottom line over promoting critical thinking. Because of that, Journalism reporting has taken a backseat to entertaining articles that confirm the opinions of a psychographic. And thus, content that promotes an ideal or agenda has replaced unbiased journalism.
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!