Not sure it was ever any different, but does someone need to take a stand against unnecessary jargon? This is particularly true in Content Marketing where there's enough navel-gazing already about what is or isn't content. What's really important here?
There was an interesting article on Marketing's blog recently. In ‘Coke can have content, but not journalism' the blogger and Wall St. Journal journalist Richard Gillis made the point that there's no such thing as brand journalism. I would argue that if his and Harry Evans' definition of journalism sticks to the narrow confines of investigative news journalism, as admirably undertaken by the Guardian et al, then yes, he's right.
But the sweeping aside of all other journalism as ‘advertising' undermines the hugely talented pool of writers, editors, journalists in fields such as fashion, food, travel, music etc. Top fashion journalists or music journalists are simply not advertising - they are exploring, expounding and breaking boundaries.
Having been in publishing all my life, I've been lucky enough to have worked with an incredibly talented group of content creators on glossy magazines, specialist magazines, websites, blogs and more. And I resent on their behalf (having crossed over from editorial to the dark side of commercial a long while ago) his view that everything they uncover, discover, test, share and inspire us with is ‘advertising'. Millions of readers would, I hope, beg to differ with him too.
A deep divide between ‘real news' and the ‘halfway house called content' is too narrow a view, particularly at a time when we have a burgeoning creative outpouring on owned and earned media platforms. Expertise is expertise and quality writing with integrity, objectivity and rigour is the lifeblood of the content industry.
Oxford Dictionaries describes the output of the journalist as follows:
‘an art critic whose essays and journalism are never dull'.
In my view, as long as it's not dull then good journalism/content, whatever platform it's on, is a Good Thing. Some branded content can be dull indeed. But great writing on subjects which audiences are engaged with, whether it's on a brand's own platform or anywhere else, will still hit the same sweet spot with readers - and after all, that is why writers write.