Is Koto-zukuri the future of news?

John Cameron Swayze on the Camel News Caravan. Photo from Wikipedia.

John Cameron Swayze on the Camel News Caravan. Photo from Wikipedia.

In the newspaper business, newsroom types would often fret about something called “advertorial” — ads that were designed to look like news content. The company always made sure they were prominently labelled as advertising content (the labels were never big enough to satisfy news types) and that the text was in a font that the newsroom didn’t use (as if readers really realized the difference.)

Ah, for such simple days. Now, we have this: Koto-zukuri. That’s a Japanese phrase that describes how corporations tell their stories. And in the process,we’ve wound up with this: Nissan recently signed a contract with the Reuters news agency to use some of its content on the car maker’s site. So does that make Nissan a news site now?

In some ways, we’re coming full circle — back to the days of the Camel News Caravan on NBC. Except nowadays, why would Camel even need NBC; it could go start its own news operation if wanted?

It’s easy for journalists to bemoan this sort of thing, but as a consumer, I find myself enjoying the options and taking advantage of them. We see lots of sports leagues starting their own networks and, essentially, their own news operations. I get most of my baseball news from the Major League Baseball website, which posts its own stories (for which there’s always a disclaimer that the league didn’t sign off on the content.) Granted, most of those are straightforward game accounts, not more complex reporting and investigation. But in many ways, it’s better coverage than I can find elsewhere. Instead of one game account from each game, there are always two — one focusing on each team. Try finding that elsewhere.

I suspect we’re likely to see more non-news sites incorporating news, thereby evolving a whole new species of quasi-news sites.

What are some other examples here?