A lesson from a bit of yellow journalism

YellerJournalismCanYou may know that Rupert Murdoch acquired the New York Post in 1976. You may also know that Murdoch is less known for responsible journalism than for pandering to mass audiences to serve up to advertisers at top dollar.

So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised last week to see this New York Post headline: “Bank outlets shutter as mobile services grow.” Nor to see writer John Aidan Byrne’s equally despairing lede: “Bank branches are falling like tree limbs in a storm …”

The cause of all the mayhem? None other than “America’s profit-hungry banks… ” who are “… dismantling more of their brick-and-mortar outposts with lower-cost, increasingly popular tech and mobile services …”

Curse you, you profit-hungry bankers!

Funny. I visited New York not long ago. I don’t recall stepping over a single fallen tree limb, much less a fallen bank branch. Maybe I need to pay more attention to where I’m walking.

Instead of a banks-falling-like-trees metaphor, Byrne could have used an evolution-of-stronger-banks metaphor. He could have shown how mobile banking creates jobs, drives down costs, reduces fraud, and brings opportunities to more of the world than ever before. He could have explained that profits are vital for building a strong economy.

But then, that’s not his job. It’s ours.

Byrne did his job. He spun a story in sync with the Post’s tabloid nature. Meanwhile, we, the mobile banking industry, have for too long focused on promoting the awesomeness of the mobile banking world, and the even more awesome world to come, to the banking industry. It is equally important that we promote it to the masses. Else, they are left to the voices of naysayers and sensationalists.

Mark Twain said it well: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Pro-active PR is easier than remedial PR. It’s not too late to tell our side, the real side, the positive side, of the emerging mobile banking world. But we need start now, before we find ourselves having to play catch-up.

On a positive note, click here to check out Phillip Ryan’s responsible reporting on the same information on bankinnovation.net. But, to my point, this is an intra-industry piece. We need to address more than just one another. If consumers knew what we knew, they’d be thrilled at what is to come. Let’s no longer talk just to ourselves. Let’s get busy placing truthful, positive stories about mobile banking in the popular consumer press.

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