#FakeNews Concerns Drive Reader Attitudes of the Media

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To uncover the biggest trends and challenges facing the media industry, Cision this week released its 2018 State of the Media Report, revealing that fake news continues to be a major concern for journalists around the world, emerging for the second year in a row. In spite of the media’s defense of the current state of journalism and its argument that fake news is something made up by Trump, 56 percent of global respondents said fake news is making readers more skeptical about all the content they read. The Cision study, however, argues that this situation is helping increase the importance of journalistic standards. For example, 75 percent globally said ensuring content is 100 percent accurate is most important to their organization – more so than being first to publish a story. Only 10 percent said the same thing about being first to publish, a three percent decrease from 13 percent in 2017.

The report features these findings from a global survey of 1,355 journalists and influencers focused on their perception of the media and communications industries. Cision’s annual report highlights key issues occupying the mindshare of traditional media and influencers to help communications and PR professionals drive better media engagement and results.

Another major concern for journalists is trust, stemming from the proliferation of fake news and misinformation. When asked if the public had lost or gained trust in the media over the last year, 71 percent said they thought the public had lost trust. This is an astonishing number.  However, this number saw a 20 percent decrease from 91 percent in last year’s survey.  Nonetheless, it is a driver in the relationship between readers and the news.

“It’s been both an extraordinary and challenging year for journalism – with the constant accusations of fake news, anti-media sentiment coming from many of the world’s politicians and a seemingly overwhelming supply of competing content. The profession has never been under such stressful times,” said Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd. “As tested as the industry has been, it’s both surprising and hopeful that this year’s findings show signs that many in the industry feel that the public is slowly but surely supporting mainstay journalistic institutions again. In order to continue this positive momentum, brands and journalists must work together to tell engaging, credible and accurate stories that will resonate with the public and continue to help regain trust.”

Other key report findings include:

  • Media continue to turn to trusted PR professionals for accurate, newsworthy information: When it comes to what journalists want from their PR contacts, 63 percent said news announcements and press releases. Furthermore, almost half (44 percent) of media said a press release is their most trustworthy source of brand-related information. To make a press release more effective, 45 percent of media recommended communications and PR professionals have a clearly stated news hook and 27 percent recommended writing in a conversational tone and avoiding jargon.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology will continue to transform the media industry: When asked what technology they think will change the way they work the most, 34 percent of media said updated social media algorithms; 26 percent said better and cheaper video production technology and 21 percent said AI and machine learning on the back-end.

With numbers between 70 to 90 percent over a period as significant as two years, fake news is not going to go anywhere soon.  Scrutiny will continue to be very high and readers will continue to look at a large variety of sources, including independent ones with editorial angles that are similar to theirs.

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