Following the huge rise of fake news stories in the media, a number of questions have arisen around the impact it’s played and will continue to play on the PR industry. Does it call for more regulations in the industry? Is it our responsibility to educate people on fake news in this ‘post-truth’ era? What can PR practitioners actually do to prevent the spread of fake news?
And what about when it comes to the brands we look after? How do we manage their reputation? Now more than ever, it’s important to work with integrity and to understand why it’s essential to work ethically to protect your clients from fake news.
As an industry, it’s clear that we need to ensure there are controls and systems in place to protect brands from fake news and to sift out the individuals and companies that create and distribute fake news. This was evident when Nando’s became victim to fake news, as false stories appeared announcing that the restaurant chain would close following Brexit.
Fake news stories such as this affect the PR industry as it damages the trust that the general public has in the media. Consumers, therefore, must be able to identify fake news by ensuring trust in the source and by checking that the outlet and author is legitimate and credible.
To help with this, journalists and PR practitioners need to make sure they’re fact-checking every claim they make. If the public doesn’t trust the media, then what good does it do to secure earned media placements for clients? No trust equals no value.
Having strong personal values and principles should be reflected in your career and your work. Think about how you want to act and be perceived. Qualities that are highly valued are honesty, accuracy, responsiveness, and being respectful, and brands want to work with those who share their values.
In any business, you’ll be more respected if you follow a strict ethos and remain professional. If the industry as a whole works towards promoting these values, we’ll be one step ahead of fake news.
Here at JAM, by working with integrity, we can generate lots of positive (and real!) news for your brand! For more information on how we can help, email Jaime@jampr.co.uk.