Journalism is changing, according to Ebele Wybenga, a journalist from Amsterdam.

Sharing his thoughts with delegates at the INMA European Conference, Wybenga discussed two trends:

  1. The attention crisis faced by brands.

  2. The commercialisation of independent media.

Gaining the reader’s interest is becoming more difficult as attention spans become shorter and interests more confused. 

This new digitalisation leads to the reader taking over the roles of classic journalism: He becomes an publisher, editor, and informer. This clearly had to lead to a new kind of crisis.

How to precipitate it? Wybenga gave answers.

First, identify your niche audience and create an original voice. As the Irish writer Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken.”

Also, foster independent thinking and talk perspective, not product. Remain interesting and do not make your brand’s advertising sound like a commercial. Of course you communicate your product, but make sure the reader doesn’t get that as the first message.

Wybenga advice to avoid this case: hire a talented editor.

But work is best done while handling a crisis, and ethics should not be left aside. Mirror your enviroment, and respect the truth.

Modern society and especially digital natives see themselves as enlightened people who completely understand media. The truth, though, to the horror of publishers and advertisers: They really do. 

Not all of it, but they are able to tell when a company is lying in their ads. Therefore trustworthiness should become an important issue to you. Also, don’t hide your brand. Use a byline. This will emphasise your trustworthiness.

Last but not least, don’t fake independence. Combine independent publishing and creative services for brands.