Two words, a whole lot of significance. In the pages I inhabit (fashion, health, beauty, spas), there’s less scrutiny on my credibility than there would be if I was a BBC economics correspondent or a New York Times political reporter. Still, I owe it to my followers and readers to keep mine intact.
A meeting with two media colleagues got me thinking about it. When I first started in magazines in the 90s, there was absolute respect for editorial integrity. Yes, there were advertiser pressures – getting an item of Armani clothing on the cover was always the bane of any fashion editor’s existence – but the pages were packed with the products, places and people we liked and admired. Then slowly, as magazine budgets and circulations fell, the advertiser pressure ramped up and the lines got blurred.
But now that we journalists are all our own brands, and have an unfiltered mouthpiece in the form of social media, we need to guard that integrity more than ever
But there’s a fear that comes from getting it wrong, getting shouted down. What are you too scared to say? Who are you prepared to call out? What’s BS? What’s the unavoidable truth? How do we navigate hot political issues?
You will be having to help your clients address these things, because they too have this direct mouthpiece. So yes, your job means getting press for your client, but there’s also guiding them through the minefield of modern media, keeping their brand protected. Perhaps it’s a skill of yours that you have failed to shout about? If it is, be vocal. It’s a skill that’s needed more than ever.