TV broadcaster switches to ‘brand journalism’
Phoebe Chongchua is a veteran award-winning TV news anchor/reporter with more than 20 years of experience in journalism and broadcasting. She has interviewed legendary people including Walker Cronkite, Mother Teresa and Tony Gwynn, plus Hollywood celebrities such as Jane Seymour and Ed Harris.
Today, Chongchua is passionate about her work as a multimedia brand journalist and marketing specialist. She's the host/reporter at PCIN.TV. After 15 years in TV news, she launched The Brand Journalism Advantage to help companies and entrepreneurs tell their own powerful stories and attract attention and clients. Chongchua founded PCIN.TV, an Internet TV station that covers lifestyle, travel, wellness and business stories. PCIN.TV gives brands a voice. Using video news stories and the art of journalistic storytelling, she helps companies share their stories with the world. Chongchua is the host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast. In each episode she shares entrepreneur and company success stories from around the globe as well as storytelling and marketing strategies to help businesses thrive.
Chongchua tells about her path through television news and her journey into brand journalism:
NL: How did you originally get into broadcast journalism?
PC: I wanted to be a journalist since I was about 12 years old. I was constantly writing and I was drawn to journalism for two primary reasons: to see the world and to tell stories. I also thought I could make a positive impact through journalism. When I was in high school I was selected to be in a program that was an intensive introduction to the world of journalism. We stayed in dorms at San Diego State University and learned the industry of print, radio and TV. KNSD was one of the sponsors. This got me hooked. I loved journalism and knew that I wanted to be a TV journalist. From that point forward, I ate, slept and breathed TV news until I finally landed my first on-air job with 10News in San Diego. At that time, it was the highlight of my world.
NL: What are the most important lessons you learned during your broadcast career?
PC: I learned that you can’t change everything quickly but that if you stick with it, you can make a difference. If you tell compelling stories, people will watch and be impacted by what you’re sharing. They might not ever have the opportunity to tell you (although in today’s digital and social world, there are many more chances to do this) but they may in some small way be impacted and make different choices that better the world.
“Reach outside the box for ideas that showcase a difference of opinion.” — Phoebe Chongchua
NL: Based on your broadcast experiences, what advice would you give to any news producer or director?
PC: Be open to the changing world of journalism. Old school journalism is merging together with new media. Pay attention to the trends and what your audience is telling you. Notice how they’re using devices and tools to find the stories that matter to them. Remember that the newsroom tends to be filled with like-minded types who may see the world in a similar way. Reach outside the box for ideas that showcase a difference of opinion. The digital world is making the world smaller and more connected and easier to tell stories from anywhere without even boarding a plane. Many people don’t care where the news comes from. Instead, they care more about how clearly it’s explained, how interesting the story is, how easily accessible it is to them, and how quickly they can share it.
NL: Please describe how your career path has changed and tell us about your present career.
PC: I moved from a traditional journalist who worked for a large news media TV station to a brand journalist. Many, today, aren’t familiar with brand journalism. In simple terms, I’m the same journalist looking for that great story. But today I don’t cover the drive-by shootings and crime. I’m producing and reporting on the stories that impact people’s lives on a daily basis and I’m helping brands share their stories with the consumers who want information from these companies.
Brand journalism is the rich and meaningful content that connects audiences with a company’s brand. It’s the vital storytelling that helps build loyal followers and brand evangelists.
I love what I do today because I am making a positive impact on the world. I’m using my favorite medium (video journalism) to bring important stories to light and share them with you — the viewers.
I’m also the host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast. Nearly 40 million Americans listen to podcasts (digital audio or video files) on their smartphone or computer ... The brand journalism community (that’s how I refer to the audience that listens to my podcast) follows me from around the globe. I interview marketing professionals, journalists, bestselling authors, and big brand leaders worldwide about how they tell their stories, gain exposure and grow their business. We just celebrated our 100th podcast episode with an interview with Chris Brogan.
I’m blessed to see the significant numbers that we’re reaching and I’m proud to be working alongside fellow podcasters who are making a difference in this digital medium. Podcasting provides a valuable source of information and iTunes (which is the directory most used to publish podcasts) is an amazing place to find knowledge, resources, entertainment and more.
NL: How can news organizations benefit from the type of marketing you are involved in today?
PC: Today it’s often said that “every company is a media company.” News organizations are no longer the only giant “mouthpiece” because brands can create their own, what I call VNS (video news stories) and distribute them to even larger and more targeted audiences via the Web. This means news organizations have to work even harder. They have to stand out and make their media company noticed. They have to embrace social media and their followings by turning to them and taking note on what’s important to their audience. Gone are the days when ratings dictate what’s most important. Today, there is instantaneous feedback. For instance, a digital publication can track how a story is performing the second after it is published online. That’s real time feedback. That’s real time kudos (if the story is liked) or it’s real time opportunity to dig deeper and do more with the story to engage the audience. Never before has any news organization had this kind of valuable feedback. Now, the question is … how will these organizations use it to enhance the delivery and accessibility of news?