Nalaka’s take on responding to ‘fake news’

At a forum on Media and Development in Berlin yesterday, my friend Nalaka Gunewardena (who moderated a discussion) brought on a fresh perspective to the problem. It’s not about the tools per se that we could use to fight Fake News. It’s also about education, alliances and policy reform, .

We must also look for the symptoms in the loss of trust in journalism, he said. The need is to build structures that enhance and nurture quality journalism. In other words, create trustworthy messengers before trying to fix (or block) the pipes through which the messages flow. Plus the need to influence policy and literacy.

This is a lot more nuanced than just clamping down on media platforms or discrediting the sources – reactive steps.

So let’s get pro-active about a problem that didn’t arrive yesterday, and won’t go away soon.

I encourage you to read Nalaka’s post about this.



As trust far as trust in media goes, funny how radio beats the Internet

Interesting how the one place we associate with up-to-the-minute information is the least trusted. While what some would call ‘old school’ media –Radio! –consistently earns people’s trust.

Among several studies looking at media trustworthiness I was fascinated by this European study. (Trust in Media, 2017 by EBU)/ Some highlights:

  • 64% of countries surveyed find radio the most trusted
  • 59% of citizens in the EU trust radio
  • Social networks are the least trusted (except in eastern Europe)
  • In 12 out of 33 countries 64% of citizens mistrust the Internet

Check these snapshots. The Internet is seeing red!










It gets worse on networks we sign up to –if only to connect with those whom we assume are trustworthy.










Which begs the questions.

  • How did we get here?
  • Or better still, why have we – who often comprise the ‘sources’ of news on social networks –misused the resource?

Why Journalists go for your blog

There are some studies that compare a company’s Twitter profile to a blog.

The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer study, which I’ve always found to be a fascinating read on where we are in social media practice, had some equally strong indicators as to where traditional and digital media sit on the trust scale.

For instance, trust in company’s web sites are (hold your breath!) up!

So this infographic, which summaries a survey by UK-based Text 100 is a good sidebar to the study. It speaks of engaging journalists using social media.


Trust in media went up. Really?

If you’ve been following the Edelman Trust Barometer over the past few years, you’ve known that this the value of this ingredient has had impossible to predict. The 2012 Trust barometer did, however throw some surprises.

Government is the least trusted institution. What else is new?

Trust in the media actually rose in the past year! (That has to be impressive, considering that two years ago, a Pew Research study found it to be at an all time low, with Americans who were aghast with inaccurate and biased news.). Gains were in India, UK, the US and Italy. Which is counter intuitive, considering how the Murdock scandal tainted much of the British media last year. Not surprisingly, social media, recorded the biggest gains in media trust.

More details here from Edelman Insights

Bernoff: Corporate blogs need to earn trust

Josh Bernoff’s commentary around recent study by Forrester Research on the low trust of corporate blogs is very timely. At least for me. I contribute to a few other blogs outside of this one, and have just stared a corporate blog for the Decision Theater.

I instinctively shunned the style of a blog that deals with just my work place. Granted, it’s quite an unusual place, with a whole bunch of 3D visualization, technology bragging rights and is also the ‘front door’ to Arizona State University. But people come to walk through our doors for solutions, not brochure-speak, and I like to tell them that the “about us” part of the 5-screen presentation is really about our clients, and the big issues out there in decision-making.

Bernoff’s point is that a corporate blog shouldn’t come across as corporate stuff forced through a blog platform. In fact it should not be a 100 percent about the organization.

I couldn’t agree more.

  • I trust Dell and subscribe to their blogs like Digital Nomads not because of what ‘the company says about its products, but because of  the conversations they allow to take place around the Nomads idea.
  • I often click on a company’s blog before even read their press release, so why would I read a blog that is written like an extended press release?
  • The ‘platform’ doesn’t earn respect in an of itself. It’s the human voice. Reid Walker writes a blog about ‘WorldSourcing’ that happens to be a blog for Lenovo. He’s the VP of global communications, but writes about books, outsourcing, innovation… not about Lenovo ads or PR.