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Ad agencies race to create quality news

Agency advertising professionals tried their hand as journalists last week, taking part in Fairfax Media’s “Breaking the Story” Agency Newsroom Challenge, designed to help agencies better recognise quality journalism and build brand advocacy. Eleven agencies took part in the interactive Amazing Race meets Cluedo-style challenge, as more than 100 ad professionals hit Sydney‘s streets tasked...

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Agency advertising professionals tried their hand as journalists last week, taking part in Fairfax Media’s “Breaking the Story” Agency Newsroom Challenge, designed to help agencies better recognise quality journalism and build brand advocacy.

Eleven agencies took part in the interactive Amazing Race meets Cluedo-style challenge, as more than 100 ad professionals hit Sydney‘s streets tasked with creating a piece of investigative journalism.

The teams visited three sites where actors played out parts of a fictional story about the redevelopment of a hotel site, touching on topical issues of the destruction of heritage building facades, political donations and corruption.

Teams then had two hours to return to base and produce stories to feature on a mock front pages, using the photography they shot themselves. Groups were mentored by members of The Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial team, including investigative journalist Kate McClymont, editor Lisa Davies, weekend features editor Aparna Khopkar, and news editor Nick Ralston.

The challenge allowed Fairfax to showcase its high-profile editorial talent and the way it creates quality, agenda-setting journalism.

This was the first editorial challenge of scale Fairfax has ran. National agency sales director Andrew Mudgway said the event was about broadening the perspectives of those in advertising.

“In a world of ‘busy’, it’s easy for people to get lost in the siloes of their own world, but we know that the value for media agencies and clients comes from opening up and reminding people of our premium audiences and content.

“We’re proud of our incredible editorial teams, and we wanted to bring agency planners and buyers into the fold and expose them to what our award-winning editorial team members are tasked with, hourly, and daily – and that is creating high quality, independent journalism,” said Mr Mudgway.

Agencies PHD, Bohemia, Wavemaker, Starcom, SPARK Foundry, Havas Media, Vizeum, Carat, OMD, M2M, Blue 449 and Medialab all took part in the challenge. The day’s winners included Starcom for best story, Carat for most factually correct story, best headline went to PHD and Blue 449 won for best photography.

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