In January 2017, a new president of the United States was elected, and the term fake news was born. It was at Donald Trump’s first press conference as President-elect when the term “fake news” broke out of media discussions and into the mainstream.
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Apart from the obvious, fake news has affected, and in some cases, hurt the PR industry. These pains are now being felt across the communications and marketing industries as well. Media coverage has always been an important value proposition for PR, because the public trusted what they saw as independent third-party endorsement from the media. But as trust in the media wanes, so too does our value.
We are starting to see big companies lash out against those that spread fake news. Facebook recently blocked all ads coming from Facebook pages known to post and share fake news. Google even launched a fact checking tool in its search and news results to ensure the news you see is real.
And while this is good news, fake news is still trending on Google. Presidents, who shall not be named, and their teams are still using the terms alternative facts to disprove an opponent’s argument.
So what can we – the hosts of Young PR Pros, our listeners, who are the next generation of PR, communications and marketing professionals – to combat fake news. In this episode we will discuss real, concrete steps young professionals, and young at heart professionals, can take to protect the value and trust of our industry.
What can we do at a grassroots level to combat fake news?
- Don’t share news or information if you don’t know where the source came from, if there is no source, or the facts have not been confirmed.
- Call fake news out when you see it. Comment on posts and provide reliable sources.
- Report fake news when you see it. Facebook allows you to do this.
- Don’t just share a post based on a sexy or attention-grabbing headline. Read the article critically before sharing.
- Source all your materials when sharing them, even it is an internal memo or an email. Don’t just quote the person who may have shared the fact, track down the original study to ensure you are quoting accurate numbers or facts.
And finally, here are four articles you should read over breakfast tomorrow:
- Broaden your PR strategy beyond just media relations with Ben Jacobson’s article called You’re targeting the wrong channels for earned media publicity.
- Julia is back with her tips on grammar with a must-read article called Five Grammar Rules You Absolutely, Seriously Have to Know.
- If you have become obsessed with Scandal like host Kristine, then you have to read Life Lessons We Learned From Two and a Half Seasons of Scandal.
This episode is sponsored by Ragan Awards. If you’re seeking opportunities to accelerate your career in public relations, you should consider entering a Ragan Award program. You’ll prove the success of your contributions to your company, earn a free registration to a Ragan event and take home a shiny trophy.
Current programs include the Video & Visual Awards, the PR Daily Awards which will focus on the industry’s most successful PR campaigns, publications and events and the Ace Awards which honors individual PR practitioners from in-house teams and agencies.
Young PR Pros listeners will receive 20% off of entry fees for these three programs using the code YOUNGPR.
Visit Ragan.com/Awards to enter today.
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