Media practitioners are often encouraged to build their own brands, but researchers Avery Holton from the University of Utah and Logan Molyneux of Temple University wanted to determine the impact of brand building on the individuals involved. In this study, they define brand journalism as the “set of activities that create an identity for an individual journalist and then promote that identity by building relationships.”
The study was based on in-depth interviews with 41 health and science reporters and editors from U.S. newspapers. “The findings suggest that as reporters incorporate branding into their routines, they may feel as though they are sacrificing the ability to simultaneously maintain a personal identity online.” In addition, many of the respondents felt they were being asked to represent their employers at all times, even when they were not at work. Interviewees also reported having little opportunity for sharing aspects of personal identity such as family, faith, or friendship, so that they might appear objective.
Holton, A. E., & Molyneux, L. (2017). Identity lost? The personal impact of brand journalism. Journalism, 18(2), 195-210.