Home Data-Driven Thinking Covering The Israel-Hamas War As A B2B Journalist

Covering The Israel-Hamas War As A B2B Journalist

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Israel, Gaza map

“What’s the AdExchanger angle?”

It’s a question that often comes up during our editorial meetings when we’re deciding whether to cover a story that isn’t a bull’s-eye for our niche and nerdy coverage area but could still possibly be interesting for our audience.

For example, say a PR person pitches us on their client, some large brand that just hit 1 million followers on TikTok. That’s not a headline for us. But if that brand’s CMO is also willing to talk about how they use data to support their marketing strategy, we can use the TikTok “news” as our entrée.

We also ask ourselves what the AdExchanger angle is when something big is happening in the world and we’re trying to figure out how – and whether – we, as a B2B trade publication about ad tech, have the authority to address it.

Arguably, there is no “AdExchanger angle” on the Israel-Hamas war.

Yes, we could write about how brands and agencies are responding to the fighting, which has already claimed the lives of more than 2,800 people in Israel and Gaza and wounded nearly 10,000.

Or we could look into whether advertisers are, yet again, using blocklists to avoid news sites in a misguided attempt to shield themselves from a brand-safety perspective.

There are also many ad tech companies based in Israel. We could talk to them about life on the ground right now.

We could write about combating the monetization of misinformation through the lens of this bloody conflict.

And we will try to tackle at least some, if not all, of those topics soon.

But throughout this past week, I’ve wondered to myself whether our readers “care” to hear from us about war in the Middle East. They come to AdExchanger for stories about topics like TV measurement, data privacy compliance, media mix modeling, retail media, the DOJ’s antitrust case against Google …

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… all of which feels suddenly rather unimportant in comparison.

Deven Machette, a senior brand strategist at Betty Buzz, a line of nonalcoholic mixers founded by Blake Lively, expressed a similar sentiment on Twitter.

But more than anything, Machette’s point highlights one of the many important differences between marketing and journalism: Pulling back on marketing during a time of crisis can be a sign of respect, whereas journalists not addressing certain issues when they have a forum to do so is the exact opposite.

Alison Weissbrot, Campaign US’s editor-in-chief and a former AdExchanger editor, put it well in a LinkedIn post earlier this week:

What took place in Israel this past weekend and the war that has broken out as a result is flooding cable news, social media feeds and mainstream newspaper headlines. 

But check the advertising trades, and it’s almost as if the conflict isn’t happening at all.

 In today’s world, business and geopolitical conflict are inseparable. Employees and consumers don’t have time or patience for brands and companies that ignore the issues that are shaping the world around them and personally impacting them. As a news publisher, it’s crucial to document how the business world is responding and mobilizing in light of global crises, even if they feel far from home.

It’s hard to say it any better or clearer than that, and we will aspire to meet the challenge.

In the coming weeks, you will see stories from us about the ongoing war, and we’ll do our best to treat the subject with respect.

This is no time to shy away from reality.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media. This column is part of a series of perspectives from AdExchanger’s editorial team.

Follow Allison Schiff (@OSchiffey) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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