Like most people, I like to keep myself up to date with current affairs around the world. The internet has made this so easy with online newspapers, magazines, television and portals such as Google News. While the usual Obama, Iran, North Korea and economic meltdown stories dominate, it is the level below these that interest me the most.
Why? Because the closer I look, the more stories I see that could be classed as advertorial. Whether it be health, entertainment, sport or tech news, there seems to be an increasing proportion that borders on, or is in fact blatantly advertising dressed as news.
The most curious one in fact for me, from my reading, has been that of Apple and Steve Jobs. I was very surprised yesterday, that for the first time that I can recall in ages, I didn’t find an Apple story in the Business or Sci/Tech sections of Google News. I did a search, and still nothing for the day. Well, you can’t expect to make the news everyday, can you?
But then, consider this. How much direct advertising do you see for Apple? Maybe an iPhone ad on TV. But rarely. The buzz created around Apple is not advertising driven, it is media and editorial driven. So do Apple get this for free? Do journalists think it makes good copy and attract readers by writing almost daily Apple stories?
I read an article yesterday about Apple’s tactic of using ‘controlled leaks’. Nice!
Not wanting to target Apple only. What about the number of articles and news reports about Tamiflu? Surely Roche are pleased. I wonder if there is another flu vaccine out there? I wonder?
And what makes Britney Spears such good copy? My son saw her in concert. Said it was the worst excuse for a concert he’d ever seen in his life. I suppose that is just another opportunity for a headline.
Call me cynical if you like. But I really wonder how much news is just free advertising? Or does it come for free? Now that opens a whole new can of worms.