By Tom Foremski
As more companies recognize that they are becoming media companies, part of that process is acquiring the skills of media professionals. The quickest way to do that is by hiring experienced journalists.
Recently, Salesforce.com acquired Steve Gillmor, a veteran tech journalist. [Steve Gillmor goes to the dark side: you should care | ZDNet]
That was a savvy move by Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, who knows Steve Gillmor very well through many interviews.
Other companies such as IBM have made similar hires. Ben Edwards, a veteran reporter at The Economist, joined IBM in March as VP of Digital Strategy and Development.
And there are many more examples.
Having an experienced journalist on staff will help companies tell their stories, however, the success of such ventures will depend upon how much creativity the journalist is allowed. Companies have a strong desire to control their message and nit-pick how that message is published.
Journalists are used to having a relatively free hand in deciding how a story should be presented and there is a danger that their work will be handicapped by their bosses.
Too many editors is like too many chefs -- it can ruin the dish.
Companies will have to trust that their "embedded journalists" are taking the right approach and take a hands-off approach.