Mongrel Media: When Corporate Comms hijacks Traditional and Social Media

Mongrel Media: Traditional vs Corporate vs Social Media. Bought vs Owned vs Earned Attention. Which will win? I’m betting on the mongrel Corporate taking over Heritage AND Social channels.

Mongrel Media: Traditional vs Corporate vs Social Media. Bought vs Owned vs Earned Attention. Which will win? I’m betting on the mongrel Corporate taking over Heritage AND Social channels.

Traditional media is meant to be impartial but currently is using sponsored “columns” written by banks to bolster up the likes of Australian Financial Review. Corporate media is throwing a lot of money at “owning their own channel” e.g. their own tv station, magazines and podcasts yet can we trust corporate media? Social media is often seen as opinionated rants – certainly not impartial like trad media – yet can bring many channels into the conversation. In the video I ask about the sacking of a journalist who was outspoken about sponsored columns in newspapers and also about having my corporate media article accepted and then rejected on the grounds the CEO didn’t use social media. The perils of losing traditional media to corporate media and ending up with Mongrel Media.

PS That was the best thumbnail for a video. Ever. PS my iTunes channel is

I put a bunch of questions in the video as I think G Paddy Manning (@GPaddyManning) (see background here) has brought up an important issue. I personally think it’s too late, the seepage of Corporate Comms into Traditional Media started years ago when the first journo, running late, under resourced, published a press release as an article and said “ah well, it was written by an ex-journo and I have nothing else to add anyway”.

Censored Media

All media is censored media. Stands to reason – the content and tone and underlying purpose has to be filtered for that audience. Fin Review would (should?) reject a fluff piece on The Voice, Womans Day would reject an indepth analysis of banking regulations in Australia. Not write or wrong, just matching content to channel/audience.

I wrote a piece on why CEOs should be on Twitter for Unnamed Corporate Media (their magazine, they paid me to write). They chose not to publish it in the end because their CEO wasn’t on Twitter. Traditional Media wouldn’t have done made that decision. Or would they? Maybe a big advertiser could have had the article pulled? Somehow I doubt it, not for this fluffyness.

Traditional Media – Bought Media

Traditional media owns their own channel so companies need to buy attention of the audience. In other words Media have the content/articles/shows, Organisations have the advertisement/Press Release/Promotion. Traditional media needs to stay impartial so that the consumer accepts the ads along with the content. The minute the channel becomes polluted with advertorials and infomercials (ads as content) we get confused, annoyed and it diminishes the brand.

However Traditional Media is dying in it’s heritage state and evolving into a earned/corporate media. How does that sit with you? Will we lose impartiality?

Corporate Media – Owned Media

Instead of taking an ad to a content aggregator (newspaper or TV), Corporates build their own channel. This can be a enewsletter or their own TV station (airlines bring in sponsored podcasts and TV shows) or a magazine you can pick up at the front desk. This is NOT brochures or catalogues (pure commercial) – I’m talking about creating a magazine not the Ad!

Advertorial – Bought AND Owned Media

4ME accepts TV shows from Corporate Media e.g. Melbourne Property from Real Estate Institute of Australia and  this is majority owned by

And Evening News accepts information shows from Commonwealth bank.

Oh and sitting on a Qantas flight, I was stunned at the 30-odd pages on Mining in their magazine. One Industry spokesperson buying another Corporate’s owned media channel? No wonder the money is not going into Fairfax or Channel Ten.

QUESTION: I need really really really good examples of Corporate Media. Particularly any where you BUY the magazine, or TV show etc. but not necessarily. Can just have great content, or a big readership etc. Got one? 

Social Media – Earned Media

Given that Media means mediums/channels, I don’t think social media is about content at all.  It’s about the viewer/participant/reader/customer turning around and becoming a channel. C2C if you will. As such, the person who receives the content or social object needs to be ‘engaged’ enough to turn around and Like it, Share it, Comment on it, Retweet it, Blog it, YouTube a video about it, LinkedIn it, Google Plus it.

Death to Mongrel Media! Awww no wait!
Death to Mongrel Media! Awww no wait!

The minute they do, they’ve forwarded the content into their own channel for you. Earning attention from Customer to Host is pretty hard, getting them to do the whole Customer to Customer thing is even tougher.

Mongrel Media

Use your corporate media (YouTube team, enewsletter, press release from Corporate Comms) to negotiate with traditional media time on air as “information” not “advertisement” such as reflecting on stock prices, or expert du jour opinions.  Ask for feedback on Twitter and Facebook Pages to incite discussion that will push the content into the customer networks. Mongrel wrapped up in different channels.

Mixing Mediums is not new: Tourism Australia “Best Job in the World” was a mixed media campaign of social engagement and traditional advertising. But I think Corporate Comms writing our News and educational articles in the future is a) scary and b) inevitable. And only Social might might get organised in time to stop it before we get swamped. What say you?


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  1. Hi Laurel, enjoyed your article. This issue is on my mind too. In response to your question, what about Lisa Messenger’s new mag the Messenger Collective which is being sold around the traps?

    1. is that a traditional media publisher putting together another glossy? Or is it run by a fashion brand as a “corporate” magazine? I haven’t seen it… any good? 🙂

  2. Forbes magazine are involved in a program called Advoice (I think) which positions articles written by or for major corporations as independent editorial. Some of them are obviously branded as ‘advertorial’, but in most cases this is well hidden.

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