Is There a Place for Native Advertising in Journalism?

The digital world is redefining how we communicate. In an ever-changing media climate, for journalists and communicators, remaining relevant requires a multi- channel, strategic approach.

The National Press Club recently hosted its second annual National Press Club Communicators Summit, Brand Storytelling: Enhancing Communicator Strategies for the Digital Age including a keynote luncheon featuring Larry Weber (Chairman & CEO of integrated marketing communications agency, Racepoint Global) and NPC President Myron Belkind.

The two panel discussions that preceded the keynote, Harnessing Digital Strategies andThe New Face for Media included a wide spectrum of panelists representing a range of media specialists from CNN to Fleishman Hillard, to the U.S. Department of State all discussing best practices.

The point most accentuated by all panelists was the importance of acknowledging and understanding the convergence of paid, owned, shared and earned media in order to strategically engage new audiences and remain current in the rapidly changing media. The balance of these components will aid in building relationships, connecting communities and creating new tactics to accompany the strategies (especially when analyzing trends and measuring success).

Although the day mostly encompassed the changing landscape of new media, a seemingly polarizing question of native advertising permeated each section of the summit, accompanied by varying answers from speakers.

The panelists mostly agreed that media consumers are savvy enough to recognize the difference between native advertising and news, especially if the sponsored content is clearly marked. Thus, they seemed to believe there was no question of ethics. There were however people in the audience (as well as the keynote speaker) who felt native advertising walked a fine line between transparency and trickery. The question still remains, is there a place for native advertising in journalism?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes on native advertising:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_F5GxCwizc