David Carr’s excellent column (subscription required) in Monday’s New York Times highlighted an increasingly prevalent trend in journalism. As newspapers and magazines continue to downsize, consolidate or disappear entirely, more and more journalists have embraced "web 2.0" and created their own blogs or eBusinesses. Carr cites Fortune Magazine’s Nina Munk, who has her own web company called Urban Hound, as a great example of the trend. There’s also Om Malik and Rafat Ali, erstwhile journalists with Business 2.0 and the Silicon Alley Reporter, respectively, who have their own news sites/blogs.
Carr believes that more and more journalists will be creating their own blogs and eBusinesses in order to compete and survive as the digital revolution continues to wreak havoc on traditional communications channels.
Carr’s column got me wondering why the more progressive PR firms aren’t creating their own information-based eBusinesses. Why shouldn’t Edelman, Weber, CRT/Tanaka or Airfoil provide "insider" perspectives on the industry in which they operate? While we are obviously client and new business focused, we could just as easily create content driven thought pieces that would rival anything published by the current trade journals. And, our eJournals would carry the first-hand "I was there" immediacy the trade journals lack.
Sure, there’s the question of objectivity, but, if the top management consulting firms like Bain and Accenture can do it, why can’t we? And, why can’t we connect directly with prospective clients in the process?
Malik’s gigaOM.com and Ali’s paidContent.org cover technology and digital media news. Both have broken a number of stories and received funding from venture capitalists.
So, why can’t a public relations firm also create a separate revenue stream by creating a Web site that provides analysis, fresh content and an "insider’s view of what’s really what?" Hey, maybe David Carr would be interested in becoming editor?