Copyright 2017

fake news

 

Fake news and yellow journalism has undoubtedly become the new norm. From false reports and fake missing friends, to photo-shopped images, government scandals and sensationalism, this scourge has organisations and news outlets fighting for their credibility.

The President of the United States has been accused of providing fake news only a few months into his term. While we blindly trust our news sources, do we stop to think about the entities that are deliberately trying to misinform the public? Is there fire to go with that smoke? 

Trust in traditional press is waning and many organisations are anxiously anticipating when they might be the next target. The fast-pace and complexity of the news and social media environments expose organisations to even greater media crises than ever before. 

With little to no time to react, the world is ready to pounce and protect what they deem should be the behaviour that is correct, responsible and ethical of organisations. Stakeholders demand ‘global’ real-time information, and while you're still trying to wrap your head around the situation, they are offering their ‘expert’ opinions to an audience that is ready to react.

The harsh truth is, if you don't tell your side of the story correctly and near as possible to instantaneously, others will tell it for you - even if it consists of assumptions. This can cost you your hard-fought credibility and ultimately your good reputation.

So the question arises - does this mean that organisations should permanently be geared for the feared ‘hot seat’? Or perhaps more importantly, can you afford not being prepared?

I have seen organisations fold overnight due to bad publicity. Even dealing incorrectly with fake news can cost you years of irreparable damage. Imagine the harm one negative article can do if it goes viral. Bad publicity is like a wildfire, if you leave it to spread, it will burn everything to the ground.

If some governments, organisations and news outlets are steering towards false media, then there is a no better time to be transparent, trustworthy and ‘real’. In an era of fake news, credibility is worth everything.

Opinion by Janine Lazarus

janinelazarus1

Register for

PRISA Membership

Follow us on

facebook twitter Instagram youtube

Contact details

Telephone: (011) 326 1262 / 011 326 1626
Fax: (011) 326 1259
Email: info@prisa.co.za

Address

ProComm House, 108 Bram Fischer Drive, Ferndale
PO Box 2825, Pinegowrie, 2123, Johannesburg, South Africa