Both Sides Of The Line — On The Future Of Journalism & Communication

The Worldcrunch fourth-floor offices in Paris are neatly divided between the business team on one end, and the editorial team on the other. But that physical distance — like so many categories, job titles and activities — is rapidly fading, and we spend our days ducking in and out of each other’s offices and zoom calls. We also have the added experience of dividing our time between our news operations and agency work. Needless to say all this crossing of lines actually makes us quite attuned to what we can simply call the Line. 

Ah, that pesky boundary between news and advertising, public interest and public relations. It is meant to protect the integrity of journalism, but is also (in the long run) vital for all sides of that line: corporate communication, crisis management, PR, influence. “Transparency” isn’t a business buzzword for nothing.

Still, times have changed drastically as the Internet has the effect of “flattening” all information. The senior members of our editorial team recall when the idea of reporters even thinking about advertisers or corporate stakeholders was unthinkable. In our own corner of the info ecosystem, some of the same writers who feed our international news website carefully design content for our corporate clients. While the burst of digitization and shifting media business models seen in the past two decades have changed the definitions of journalism and marketing, it has also illuminated what ultimately matters to both journalism and communications. Our co-founder and editor Jeff Israely wrote about it last spring for the Harvard Nieman Lab

Whether crafting a news article or a promotional brochure, our job is to keep reliable information flowing, be it between companies and clients or citizens and the world around them. This necessitates a fascination with human expression, an eternal thirst for digging into the details of how different cultures, languages, age groups and identities function.

It is this common denominator that draws our myriad contributors around the same virtual watercooler, sharing some of what you’ll see below, from brilliant Swedish TV commercials to the etymology of Silicon Valley jargon. We hope our new Storylab newsletter helps us all understand how the world looks on both sides of the Line, as the best chance we have to never lose sight of it.

Benjamin Sabbah – Worldcrunch CEO

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