Fake, fact or fudged: PR will face greater scrutiny
Fake news. Alternative facts. It’s a strange new world we live in. And that will pose special challenges to PR practitioners in their dealings with consumers and media alike.
Consumers are becoming more and more cynical about the authenticity of the news they are being presented. While one could argue that people being more discerning about their news sources is not a bad thing, it can be problematic when that discernment reveals lapses in the quality and reliability of news sources. Once trust starts to erode, the floodgates of cynicism will open and threaten to sweep legitimate news credibility along with it.
Given this environment, journalists are going to be extra diligent in checking their news sources – even when it involves non-controversial information provided by trusted PR sources. While most PR practitioners are very conscientious about the quality of information they provide, no one would dispute there are sometimes those who might resort to a little fudging of the facts. It is likely their news media partners will be scrutinizing third party information more critically than they may have in the recent past.
It’s a bit of a Catch-22 for the news media. The pressures to produce more content with less human resources continue to intensify. So editors and reporters do need to continue relying on their sources. But there will be equal and opposite pressure to make sure all the news isn’t just fit to print (or broadcast), but meets fundamental standards of professional accuracy.
In an odd way, maybe this adds to the value proposition of the public relations industry. Good practitioners will be counted on more than ever by media channels and marketing clients alike. It’s a matter of trust. And those who deliver on that promise should be in great demand.
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