Corporate journalism requires credibility, courage

Corporate journalism requires credibility, courage

Journalism professor shares his thoughts on organization-based reporting

Many organizations have a communications or public relations team, yet the idea of utilizing a third party news service like Axiom News to cover corporate news is new to the journalism sphere and to organization leaders.

Axiom News is hired by organizations to report on their websites. Axiom applies what it calls corporate journalism to help organizations achieve their goals through storying their achievements and asking questions to find solutions to issues and answers to trends. Axiom is trusted by its clients to write and post theses stories on corporate websites, without prior editorial approval from the client.

John Hatcher, a journalism professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, wonders if leaders in an organization are willing to grant freedom on what is being written about in order to have a credible corporate news program.

"Are they going to really be wanting to hear from either their customers or their employees about problems or are they really going to want to see the publication that they pay to produce filled with dissent or discussion of problems? I think that’s a real challenge for corporate journalism to deal with," he says.

"In theory, if it did happen you could see how the corporate communication would feel more democratic, would help to build a sense of community, and it doesn’t have to be just problems, but issues and possibly solutions."

The more corporate leaders are willing to let uncontrolled discussion happen, the greater the publication and its credibility, he says. With this credibility, readers will feel the content is not propaganda but a way to discuss serious matters, he notes.

Hatcher, who is the former Center for Community Journalism education director at the State University of New York Oswego, says there are some parallels between community press and Axiom’s type of organization-centred reporting.

"The challenge for the journalist is to stimulate discussion within that organization or within that community. If the journalist gets too far out of that shared vision they are going to be seen as an outlier," he says.

"Sometimes the journalist doesn’t understand the boundaries until they’ve stepped outside of them."

Hatcher says that for corporate journalism to work readers need to see it as serious and candid.

"I do think it takes some courage from the journalist and again some courage from leaders within the organization to see healthy discussion as a positive thing."

Writer Bio

Jennifer Neutel's picture
Jennifer Neutel

Jennifer Neutel is a Story Advocate and Generative Journalist at Axiom News. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and joined Axiom News in 2007. She has taken on a variety of roles at Axiom including new social media intiatives and has a passion for creating strengths-based questions that can lead to positive change.

Contact Jennifer: jennifer@axiomnews.ca, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

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