Fake News is Great News for Radio

Fake News went mainstream back in 2016 after Donald Trump labelled a CNN journalist as “fake news!” at his first press conference as President-elect.  And ever since it’s been hard to avoid.

Concerns around fake news have since made Brits more wary of clicking on stories from non-traditional media outlets, with Facebook promising to tackle fake news on its own site – with users and ‘fact checkers’ being asked to flag stories as, well fake (although evidence suggests that’s not working either… are we surprised?). Readers have long been wary of clickbait articles, and fake news brings a new element of caution into the mix.

According to a report by Instinctif Partners: ‘Fake News: Can it save the traditional, mainstream media?’, 39% of respondents said that they were now more wary of clicking on stories from non-traditional stories, while a further third said they already were wary.

Nearly two thirds of respondents said their own awareness of ‘fake news’ had made them think more about where they source and consume content from, and indeed what they share.

What I found particularly interesting was how consumers ranked the trustworthiness of the media.  Ranked on a scale of one to five, radio scored the highest, followed by TV.  Social media, and Twitter in particular, which has become the go to for up to the minute or even second, coverage, is found to be much less reliable, by its very nature of crowd sourced, unconfirmed content.

So how did they score?:

  1. Radio: 3.55
  2. TV: 3.52
  3. Traditional print media outlet (either print or online): 3.33
  4. The websites or social media feeds of companies, political parties or Government departments: 2.53
  5. Twitter feeds of independent users not associated with the traditional media: 2.17
  6. Facebook pages of independent users not associated with the traditional media: 2.16
  7. Partisan blogs 1.9
  8. Hoax sites 1.48

And who has done the most to combat fake news? Respondents felt the clear winner was broadcast (26%), with Twitter (8%) and tabloids (7%) perhaps unsurprisingly ranking last.  So is the tide finally turning for traditional media outlets who ‘until now they haven’t be able to react to the challenge posed by Facebook or Google’. While a mainstream understanding of ‘fake news’ and need to fact check ‘has presented old school broadcasters and newspapers with an opportunity to rebuild and re-establish themselves in the face of intense competition from search engines and online social media and social networking services.’

Timely then that the RAJAR Q2 results were also released just last week… Radio has long been a trusted source for many – and listening is more popular, more personalised and more digital than ever. 49.2 million adults, are tuning in each week, that’s a huge 90% of the population, listening to an average of 21 hours of live radio. And we’re going digital here, with 60% of us now tuning in to a digital pr station every week, accounting for 49% of all UK listening. And whether it’s on the go, or in the office, 27% of adults listen to radio via a phone or tablet.

So while we’re all super focused on securing coverage, let’s not forget radio, it’s a super powerful, super personal tool, and they’re listening… so perhaps we should be listening too?

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PRFood & Drink PRConsumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us.