Personal branding takes off for journalists

Although there have always been the Matt Lauers and Maureen Dowds of journalism, today's reporters are increasingly working across multiple media platforms to build their personal brands, including through Facebook and Twitter.

Although there have always been the Matt Lauers and Maureen Dowds of journalism, today's reporters are increasingly working across multiple media platforms to build their personal brands, including through Facebook and Twitter. The new Web site True/Slant is capitalizing on this reality by promoting the work-in-progress brands of its contributors.

True/Slant features the work of more than 100 “entrepreneurial journalists,” who are expected to produce content, promote their different projects, and interact with online audiences from their on-site homepages.

“True/Slant is [contributors'] digital home from which they can inform their audience of all the things that they are doing,” says Lewis DVorkin, True/Slant founder and CEO.

The digital platform, aggregating content from various online venues, works in line with the way journalists tell their story, from YouTube to Tweets to a chapter of their to-be-published book.

An increased presence in the online space provides the opportunity to showcase a journalist's expertise or deliver key messages that a journalist might not be able to tell due to editorial restrictions, adds Bill Zucker, MD in the media practice at Burson-Marsteller.

For example, more established mainstream press, like True/Slant contributor and Good Morning America senior national correspondent Claire Shipman, utilizes the blog platform to discuss her family and promote offerings, like her book Womenomics which is also the title of her True/Slant homepage.

But new platforms like True/Slant also provide the opportunity for up-and-coming journalists to be seen more, too.

“If you have zero brand, [True/Slant is] the kind of place that would let you increase your brand. But, you would have to be out there… doing it on your own, too, with user-generated media,” says Zucker.

And that brand building might be good for the outlets that the journalists work for as well. Readers are attracted to venues like True/Slant due to the immediacy of the interaction with top-notch journalists and their own collection of their content offerings, according to Vickee Adams, SVP and US director of media at Hill & Knowlton.

And engaging in a dialogue and enabling readers to have “their voices heard” with True/Slant's commentator model will help keep readers engaged, says Jane Mazur, EVP and director of national media at Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

“As the [media] landscape is shrinking and talent is laid off… the fact that they can find another avenue to tell their stories is really strong,” Mazur says, “At the end of the day, it's an asset that they have created a career for themselves that does enable a following.”

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