Threat of Fake News is Elevating Trust in Traditional Media

This post appears courtesy of the Ogilvy Media Influence Team. 

The emergence of “fake news” was thought to make the public less confident in its news sources, but the Ogilvy Media Influence 2017 survey suggests that journalists believe that fake news is creating new trust in traditional media around the world.

Ogilvy’s annual survey included over 250 reporters and producers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and the Asia-Pacific regions in April.

The reporters and producers reflected on the role of social media, company websites and other factors in the importance of trusting traditional news sources. Many agreed that with fake news being such a popular debate, there is an increased need and pressure for stronger reporting in order to re-build trust.

Jennifer Risi, worldwide chief communications officer at Ogilvy said that fake news has put a spotlight on traditional news and has challenged journalists to put more limits in place to ensure accuracy in the news.

Across the world, traditional media was found to be the most trusted news source at 52 percent, but company websites and press releases came in second with 22 percent. When we break it down by region, we begin to see some differences. In North America, the traditional media was the most trusted source with 59 percent, but in EMEA it was 47 percent. Asia-Pacific fell in the middle at 50 percent. Each region agreed that company websites and press releases are the second-best news source, but North America came in at 15 percent, while EMEA came in at 22 percent and Asia-Pacific at 29 percent.

All three regions contributed the fake news phenomenon to the advancement of social media. As user-generated content increases through blogs and other social media sites, anyone can post anything at any time. Another top contributor to fake news is polarized media coverage, meaning the media is only reporting on one side of a topic. Another top contributor to fake news is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new information to align with your existing beliefs.

In North America, 24 percent blamed fake news on social media, 17 percent blamed it on polarized media coverage and 14 percent blamed it on confirmation bias. In EMEA, 24 percent tied it to social media, 16 percent to polarized media coverage, and 14 percent to money. In Asia Pacific, 26 percent blamed fake news on social media, 17 percent on confirmation bias and 17 percent on money.

The study also found that the political climate in different regions has resulted in changed reporting methods. 54 percent of reporters in North America, 41 percent in EMEA and 34 percent in Asia Pacific have altered their reporting practices in the past year.

The battle with fake news goes beyond fact-checking and re-building trust with the audience. Globally, 41 percent said that better reporting is necessary and 24 percent said that collaboration with social media is important to verify the accuracy of news reports. In North America, 35 percent said better reporting is necessary, while 27 percent said working with social media is the best approach. 16 percent of those surveyed said proper fact checking, more credible sources and transparency will help to combat the issue.

Forty-three percent of EMEA survey participants agreed that better reporting is needed, 19 percent said working with social media is the best approach, while 17 percent believe that marketing campaigns can help inform the public that there are honest reporting practices being used. In Asia Pacific, 43 percent think we need better reporting practices and 27 percent believe collaborating with social media platforms is the way to go.

As the Ogilvy survey suggests, reporters around the world are aware of the issue of fake news, but they are also aware of the solutions that could possibly begin to combat the issue. Building trust between a brand and its stakeholders is more important than ever before in this era of fake news.

For the full study please visit here. 


Jordan McCrary is a public relations student at the University of Florida. She is the Vice President of the UF PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on Twitter @mccrary_jordan.

Posted in [Blog].

2 Comments

  1. If you say something is fake news, commonly a false accusation, the public doesn’t know whether to believe you or the accusers but with PR wisdom you can win.A fake news accusation is commonly that the accused is (a) endangering the public as by pollution or inadequate product safety, (b) ripping off the public as by charging too much, or (c) being unfair to the public as by discrimination or allowing harassment. What wins for you is showing, and having a file of data and pictures ready, that the OPPOSITE is true–that you are PROTECTING the public against pollution and safety perils, SAVING the public money (so even a costly drug saves the public money by reducing hospitalization and lengthy illness), and REDUCING unfairness by crystal-clear corporate policies and zero tolerance of unfairness.

    Ogilvy has been terrific at this. It is Preventive PR because the “Jungle Law of PR” is that the strong are less likely to be attacked than the weak..

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