ESI Media, publisher of the Independent and the Evening Standard, isn’t squeamish about mixing marketing and editorial.
Six months ago, it received attention for being one of the few newspaper publishers that was hiring editorial staff to also work on commercial content. For instance, a commercial journalist, who sits within the editorial team and creates content for the ESI Media brands across a vertical like TV and entertainment, will help pitch ideas for a relevant TV client, like broadcaster Sky. They then can recommend other editorial journalists who could write bespoke articles for the branded content. For example, editorial columnist Grace Dent wrote an article on “Game of Thrones” as part of Sky’s much wider branded-content campaign with ESI Media, which was featured in the Independent, the Evening Standard, online and in print.
“It’s a very joined-up business between commercial, commercial journalists and the editorial journalists,” said Jon O’Donnell, managing director at ESI Commercial. “We didn’t want to create a scenario where they were there to write editorial content and then they would write commercial content.”