Today the venerable Time Magazine names its former editor in chief as their first Chief Content Officer.
“We are confident this new structure will create a strong partnership between business and editorial, promote creativity and result in a cohesive vision for each of our brands that will be essential to long-term growth,” Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp wrote in a company wide email.
Translated into English this statement from the CEO suggests that the way forward for journalism at Time Inc. is to serve the needs of the advertisers who pay the bills instead of the subscribers who are canceling en mass.
Imagine if Disney hired a former Cardinal Archbishop to run their recently spun off religion business. Great move for Disney. Humiliating for the la chiesa.
A business should make money by selling something a customer wants to buy. But what’s on sale here is the ability to fool the reader into thinking that some knowledge or truth is free of bias.
Of course bias exists. The difference between bias arrived at through a series of social and intellectual compromises and bias manufactured by corporate interests is the difference between lies and dammed lies.
As the failing giants of journalism surrender to the forces of the marketplace, their search for truth and justice becomes a search for corporate sponsored conclusions to problems with economic opportunities that create shareholder wealth.
Sponsored content destroys trust in journalism. People aren’t stupid and they will eventually see through it. When the media sells their inheritance to please their shareholders they sow the wind. When the readers stop falling for their stock market pleasing tricks, they shall reap the whirlwind.