Remember when we depended on B2B traditional media such as print? What we lacked in mass outlets besides broadcast for breaking news was gratified by well-crafted, informed storytelling, that is, journalistic style writing in its truest form.

Today, instantly refreshed media sites and self-publishing content have taken over, compelling Gen Xers and baby boomers to accept the new normal of a collaborative writing environment. You can write and post your own blog, e-book or newsletter comprising aggregated e-articles, or push out content to social media channels, networks, online forums, auto marketing/CMS platforms, apps and podcasts.

In the 1990s to early 2000s, print was king in the health IT industry. Trade magazines then were hefty manuscripts bursting with richly detailed lengthy articles. Over the years many publications facing declining ad revenues folded, giving way to the fundamental shift to rapid adoption of intuitive publishing e-tools. Emerging digital devices allowed non-tech people to take personal publishing mainstream. Simply put, people from all aspects of business found accessing and pushing content to the web easier, faster and more convenient.

Thankfully, several established health IT print magazines and association journals  wisely chose to adapt. Those publications, whether in print or online or both, are thriving. Major reorganizations helped to sustain trustworthy content through real-time news reporting, social media engagement and other digital publishing offerings.

Digital communications also has opened the door to paid-for or sponsored content. A universal argument rages, debating what ethical lines are crossed transgressing journalism ethics in producing copy influenced by the writer’s financial relationship. So if your company is paying for content, how does the reader discern whether the editorial is based on fact or fiction? Does your company care if the content adheres to journalism standards? Does anyone care for that matter?

Despite the digital age’s transformation of the health IT press landscape, the importance of basic journalism principles cannot be underestimated in writing a credible story. Interviewing to gather facts, newswriting basics crafting concise copy starting with a good lead to “30”, timeliness, objectivity, balance, and accurate quotes and attribution remain important. Even better is the seasoned writer who applies relevant context to the story, giving an informed perspective based on facts, trends and history.

Ultimately, the question of whether to write according to journalism rules comes back to one’s personal integrity. No matter the amount of self-publishing to stay agile and in tune with business publishing changes, the “quality versus quantity” of content is what people remember. What is your benchmark for value?

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