June 24, 2011

Washington Post | The Buttry Diary
Gene Weingarten says he had three goals when he was a hungry young reporter in the 1970s: 1) Get great stories that improve the world. 2) Get famous. 3) Get doe-eyed young women to lean in close and whisper, “Take me.”

Note the order. First came the work.

Now, the first goal seems to be self-promotion — the fame part, the “brand.” That’s because we know that, in this frenetic fight for eyeballs at all costs, the attribute that is most rewarded is screeching ubiquity, not talent. It is why Snooki – who is quite possibly literally a moron – has a best-selling book. It is why the media superstars of today are no longer people such as Bob Woodward, who break big stories, but people like Bill O’Reilly, who yell about them.

Steve Buttry points out that Weingarten “has developed an outstanding personal brand as a journalist. But that brand will not let him write, except scornfully, about branding and journalism.”

Many old-school journalists who are disdainful of branding are also disdainful of social media, especially Twitter. So is Weingarten. But he is so clever that he uses Twitter regularly (1,554 tweets), making it part of his brand, showing his disdain with an avatar that is a disgusting photograph of a turd.

Branding is not all about selling yourself to the public. Sometimes it’s just establishing a brand within the industry.

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From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August…
Jim Romenesko

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