The vibe within today’s newsroom feels more like a sleepy library than a clattering nerve center of days past, as editorial staffs continue to trim their in-house talent. Meanwhile, across the hall, the branded-content arms of major publications are surfacing innovative ways to tell longform, immersive stories (thanks to marketers’ budgets).
During a recent trip to one of these content studios, a contact there remarked how, once maligned, the branded side of the house is now viewed with jealousy by the editorial staff, boasting coveted resources to create beautiful content and continue to push the envelope of what’s possible with longform text storytelling.
As such, the conversation has shifted away from whether brands have the permission to create longform content; now, it’s more about occupying a role like the Medici family of the 15th century, allocating resources to commission and underwrite a true assessment of the world around us in a way that provides a deeper understanding of our lives. In place of opulent sculptures, murals, and paintings, however, brands can embrace a patronage model in which the aesthetic weapon of choice is the editorial lens they (and their creators) wield.