NewFronts Now: Day 3 explores the news media's response to racial injustice
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Vice is calling on marketers and agencies to once again reassess keyword blocklists as new words have been added to advertisers’ do-not-buy lists amid the protests against racial injustice. During its NewFront presentation on Wednesday, Vice said brand marketers need to call upon their agencies to review and question the words that make up their blocklists.
Over the past few weeks, the company notes that those words now include “George Floyd,” “Black Lives Matter,” “protest,” “Minneapolis” and even “Black people.” And agencies need to rethink “antiquated practices of keyword blocklists, and instead look to more contextual-based solutions that better support journalism, while servicing our partners needs for brand safety.”
Vice also made a commitment to further diversify its coverage and started a program where young people of diverse backgrounds will help the company think about the future as it pertains to work, dating and the environment, among other things. Brands will have the opportunity to engage with, collaborate with, and learn from this group during the program which kicks off in the fall.
Diversity in the newsroom
How the news media is diversifying its coverage and newsrooms was a hot topic on Wednesday.
In a “State of the News” roundtable, The Wall Street Journal’s Editor In Chief Matt Murray acknowledged brand has more work to do, reports Ad Age's Garett Sloane. “The current moment, like a lot of companies, has brought some urgency to us and the need to go faster and make even more significant progress. But what we’ve seen is that a greater perspective of backgrounds also brings deeper perspectives on news and how we think about stories and areas of coverage,” Murray said.
Vice Media's Jesse Angelo, who serves as president of global news and entertainment, said it’s clear news organizations haven’t done enough in diversity and inclusion, noting it begins with transparency. “The industry has to open up its kimono.” Angelo also pointed out that everyone on the NewFronts state of the news panel was white, which is an obvious problem.
In Forbes’ presentation, the organization highlighted the appointment of Sade Muhammad, who created the representation and inclusion practice which will “help brands advocate for, and support, diverse identities and their allies in business and entrepreneurship.”
Outside of the news room, day three also took a look at how the industry can move beyond words and take action in ending racial injustice. During a Town Hall that closed out the day, Cavel Khan, chief revenue officer at Tumblr, pointed out how general market agencies are able to take on multicultural business and planning, but a multicultural or Black-owned agency doesn’t have the opportunity to take on general market accounts. “Why isn’t a Black-owned agency an AOR for a Fortune 500 company?” he asked. Khan also called on the ad world to help diversify its middle ranks, saying there is a “muddy middle” that’s hard for Black people and other minorities to move beyond.
Journal’s print guarantee
Although it was a digital content NewFront, The Wall Street Journal still had some kind words for classic print publishing. “There's not really an ad problem in print,” said Josh Stinchcomb, global chief revenue officer at WSJ Barron's Group, the media company that runs the Journal. Stinchcomb was discussing how, although digital is obviously the faster-growing segment of the news business, the Journal still caters to a core print readership. During the coronavirus shutdown WSJ made a guarantee to print advertisers that their ads would hit certain benchmarks to prove their effectiveness. The Journal promised to run any ad again if it did not hit a minimum of ad recall from readers. “The remaining readership in print, in general, is probably more valuable to advertisers on a per capita basis than ever before,” Stinchcomb said.
Journal executives still spent most of the time talking about the internet ad business and new ad technology. The Journal team talked about using data and contextual analysis to target ads.
They also discussed going after younger readers with new editorial products like Noted, which the publisher believes will be a gateway for new readers. “We have big on-campus programs to bring in student audiences that we know we can keep as lifetime members,” said Suzi Watford, executive VP and chief marketing officer at the Journal.
That's it for today's NewFronts Now. Thanks for reading and we'll be back tomorrow with our final edition, bringing you all the highlights from Day 4.