November 7, 2023
In this episode, Tina McCorkindale joins On Top of PR host Jason Mudd to discuss how PR can help journalism survive as well as more information and research from the Institute for Public Relations.
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Short Guest Bio
Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, a nonprofit research foundation devoted to research that matters to the public relations and communications profession.
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5 things you’ll learn during the full episode:
- What the Institute for Public Relations is and what it does
- Statistics on misinformation and disinformation
- Who people trust not to spread disinformation
- How disinformation affects elections and other important events
- How you can find disinformation and combat it
Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, a nonprofit research foundation devoted to research that matters to the public relations and communications profession. Prior to that, she was a university professor and has more than 10 years of experience working in corporate communication and analytics. She serves on the boards of several industry associations and has received several awards for her contributions to the profession.
- “We have disinformation as a threat to our democracy” - Tina McCorkindale
- “When you ask who's doing a good job combating disinformation, we also added to that me, I am great at combating disinformation.” - Tina McCorkindale
- “Most people say they're doing a very good job of combating disinformation, but we know that's not true because we are the primary ones who spread disinformation.” - Tina McCorkindale
- “PR professionals should look at opportunities like you're describing to support nonprofit groups who are doing things to support local journalism, fund local journalism, and equip them with the tools and resources they need to survive and succeed.” - Jason Mudd
- “For companies, sometimes it's very easy to see the disinformation, but where it gets difficult is when people are having conversations and people aren't listening, and it's hard to do that on your own as an organization.” - Tina McCorkindale
- “Doing it well and doing it right, not necessarily doing it for the clicks and not necessarily doing it just to be the first, but to get it right.” - Jason Mudd
- “Journalism has this huge responsibility (of combatting disinformation), and if we don't support journalism, then who is going to provide us with that information?” - Jason Mudd
- Connect and learn more about Tina McCorkindale on LinkedIn.
- Visit the Institute for Public Relations for more information.
- The Expanding News Desert (UNC) Reports
Additional Episode Resources:
- 2022 IPR Disinformation in Society Report in the U.S.
- 2022 IPR Disinformation in Society Report in Canada
- 10 Ways to Identify Disinformation – A Guide and Checklist
- 10 Ways to Combat Misinformation: A Behavioral Insights Approach
- Free Weekly IPR Research Letter
- American Journalism Project
Additional Resources from Axia Public Relations:
- Combatting incivility with Anthony D’Angelo | On Top of PR podcast
- How PR pros can combat the fake news epidemic
- Crisis communication: How to mitigate fake news
[01:05] What is the Institute for Public Relations?
- A nonprofit organization that focuses on getting research into PR practitioner's hands
- Focus on important topics: Generative AI, Diversity Studies, etc.
- Everyone involved is a volunteer/member or appointed.
- Holds conferences and has great networking opportunities
- Exists because of membership fees, trustees, events, sponsorships, and through their awards dinner
[05:30] Misinformation and Disinformation
- IPR has an annual disinformation study.
- Disinformation is described as deliberately misleading or false information.
- The government and media PR Professionals should be held responsible for combatting disinformation.
- For organizations to help combat disinformation, they need to be a trusted source of information and be transparent about what they're doing (building your trust) and support local journalism.
Tina: “This year, the biggest problem for people was inflation. 73% of our respondents said inflation was a major problem, healthcare costs 72%, and we saw a decline some, but compared to last year, which was at 69% for misinformation and disinformation, but both sides of the aisle, both Democrats and Republicans believe it to be a major problem in our society. But one, I will say that we spend very little time addressing or having an answer to how we combat it and what we need to do to stop it.”
[11:35] How misinformation and disinformation affects elections
Tina: “We have disinformation as a threat to our democracy, 74% agree on that, or when we say disinformation undermines our election process, and 75% of people agree with that, it shows you that many Americans on both sides of the political aisle because that's typically where we see the polarization agree that there are significant amounts of disinformation, and I feel like it's one of these areas that has been unaddressed.”
- IPR makes sure to word their questions so that they don’t take a stance on either political side.
- Disinformation still occurs during elections but individuals, regardless of their political stance, find local journalism to spread the least disinformation.
[15:11] Who do people trust to not spread disinformation?
Tina: “When you ask who's doing a good job combating disinformation, we also added to that me. I am great at combating disinformation.”
- Family and friends are seen as some of the most credible sources to get information from and not spread disinformation.
- Local broadcast news and local newspapers, from BOTH sides of the political spectrum, are trusted at not spreading disinformation.
- PR can help local journalism survive by supporting it, sponsoring it, and funding local journalists to gather insights about what's happening within the community.
- However, this still means there needs to be a clear separation between those supporting and funding journalism.
Tina: “Most people say they're doing a very good job of combating disinformation, but we know that's not true because we specifically individuals are the primary ones who spread disinformation.”
Jason: “PR professionals should look at opportunities like you're describing to support nonprofit groups who are doing things to support local journalism, fund local journalism, and equip them with the tools and resources they need to survive and succeed.”
[22:17] Disinformation on certain platforms and how to combat it
Tina: “For companies, sometimes it's very easy to see the disinformation, But where it gets difficult is when people are having conversations and people aren't listening, and it's hard to do that on your own as an organization.”
Jason: “Doing it well and doing it right, not necessarily doing it for the clicks and not necessarily doing it just to be the first, but to get it right.”
- Have an outside perspective to combat disinformation.
- Struggles of managing disinformation come from the platforms that you don’t have access to (ex: private chat channels).
Jason: “Journalism has this huge responsibility (of combatting disinformation), and if we don't support journalism, then who is going to provide us with that information?”
[29:06] Summary of episode
- Take disinformation very seriously.
- Dig into what your organization is doing to currently prevent or educate people about media literacy.
- Check and see where your advertising dollars are being spent.
- Be responsible for yourself.
- Save local journalism and become a great steward.
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Welcome to On Top of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer.
Hello, and welcome to On Top of PR. I'm your host, Jason Mudd with Axia Public Relations. Today I'm joined by Tina McCorkindale. She is the president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, a nonprofit research foundation devoted to research that matters to the public relations and communication profession. Prior to that, she was a university professor and has more than 10 years of experience working in corporate communication and analytics. She serves on the board of several industry associations and has received several awards for her contribution to the profession. She also has a PhD and is an accredited public relations practitioner. With that, Tina, welcome to On Top of PR.
Hi, Jason. Thanks for having me.
I am glad to be here and glad to have you as we are talking before we press record. We've been working on putting this together for a while, but really glad to have you here, help our audience learn more. What is the Institute for Public Relations?
So the Institute for Public Relations, we're a nonprofit organization and our whole focus is making sure we get research into the hands of practitioners. That's either secondary research, meaning research that others have done or we do research ourselves and we're not a membership organization. We're governed by our board of trustees, and those include top executives and agencies, corporates, search firms, and we focus on all sorts of topics that we think are really important.
So currently, we're working on a study on comm's role in environmental initiatives, generative ai, diversity studies. We have a couple of those looking at the broken wrong as well as the relationship between chief diversity officers and comms officers. So we have a lot of research, and we do masterclasses and other sort of events like the Bridge Conference. And yes, we're a fantastic industry association.
If you don't say so yourself. Right.
If I don't, I'm a little biased, but it's all true.
That's great. What kind of people become members of the Institute for Public Relations? Is it a volunteer organization. Tell us more about that.
Yeah, they're all volunteer, but we have, our board of trustees are appointed, so heads of some of the agencies and corporate. Our current chair is Yanique Woodall, who runs retail comms at CVS Health. And our vice chair is Diana Litman, who's the CEO of MSL US, but we also have some membership tiers. We have Elevate, which is a group of high performing senior leaders, and that's a membership group. And then we're also going to begin a new sort of three year out to 13 year out group of individuals who we hope to … we feel like the pandemic has not been great. Some training of both students who are graduating from universities, but also entry-level professionals. COVID was really hard on a lot of organizations, so we're going to focus on networking, professional development, and really pushing those research driven insights and critical thinking and other important skills that are so important at that stage in their lives.
Gotcha. And will these programs be offered in person virtual? How do you plan to roll those out?
All the above, Jason, because we like the virtual in terms of convenience, but we definitely, since I feel like things are back to normal, except some travel budgets have been cut, the in-person is so critically important. That's where you really have the great conversations and the networking. And as an organization, we also like food and drink a lot, so we emphasize that with our networking events as well.
I don't think that's just limited to your organization.
I think it's like an industry thing for sure. So they're like, okay, and then when are we going to eat and where's our cocktail mocktails? So yes.
Yeah, that's the most important part. What are we eating? When are we eating and where are we eating? And then what happens after that? Right. Yes.
And then we have a smart conversation around it.
That's right. I love it. That sounds great. Excellent. And so your organization exists based on membership fees and donations and other financial support?
So we get from our membership, but also our trustees, and then from events and sponsorships for our programs’ events. And then we have what's coming up on Nov. 30, 2023, and we have it every year at our big annual distinguished lecturer and awards dinner. So we typically convene about 300 leaders across the industry, and we celebrate some of the award winners in our industry. And then we have a distinguished lecturer who imparts some wisdom on us. And then of course we have a nice cocktail reception and then it's just a really great time and we have a lot of fun, and then we celebrate and it's right before the holidays and it's perfect. It's in New York City at Chelsea Pierce, and it's always a great time to be had, and we've been doing that for 60 plus years.
Oh yeah. Very nice. Wow. Okay. Well, today we're here to talk about how PR can help journalism survive, and obviously you've got some really good research that we can tap into and talk about that. So that's kind of where I wanted to get started. We talked about compared to 2021, most Americans still consider misinformation and disinformation to be major problems. More so according to your research, I guess, border security, the budget deficit, climate change, domestic terrorism, and internal terrorism. Now, first of all, I was not yet aware of these claims, but second of all, if you think about them, I mean at the end of the day, misinformation and disinformation. If you don't have sources and information, how are you going to address these other topics and issues and how are you going to trust that these topics and issues are legitimate problems without some sort of conversation and information exchange?
Yes. So we have our annual disinformation study that we do at IPR, and we're going to release the fourth annual one, which is where you read the statistics from and we define disinformation as deliberately misleading or false information, and we give people a laundry list of here are the issues, how would you rate these issues in terms of major importance, minor, I'm sorry, major problem, minor problem, not a problem at all. And year over year, we see misinformation and disinformation to be major problems.
Now this year, the biggest problem for people was inflation. 73% of our respondents said inflation was major problem, healthcare costs 72%, and we saw a decline some, but compared to last year, which was at 69% for misinformation and disinformation, but both sides of the aisle, both Democrats and Republicans believe it to be a major problem in our society. But one, I will say that we spend very little time addressing or having an answer to how we combat it and what we need to do to stop it.
Yeah, that's very good and very insightful. So what do you think we can do as an organization or a profession to do what you just said, which is to stop the misinformation and disinformation?
Yeah, I'll say for one, what I see, and we see it year over year, is when we ask people about who should be responsible for combating it, it's typically government media that are the top sort of overall sources, but PR professionals, marketers are high up there too. They're usually in about the 50% said that they are very responsible for combating it. But then when we ask how well people are doing, there's a significant gap. The journalists have a better gap in terms of people think that they're doing a better job compared to what percentage think that they should be combating it, but people overall give very low ratings to government President Joe Biden should be according to the respondents, the number one, but how well they're doing, people give them extremely low marks. So there's a huge gap. So one, it's sort of like everyone needs to take responsibility for disinformation and come up with ways to stop it.
There are things that the government can do to stop disinformation. There are things that the social media platforms can do, but as far as our organizations, it's one being a trusted source of information and not repeating what you see in the news because people can find the news, but being a trusted source where they can go for reliable information, and also this and day-to-day operations, being transparent about what they're doing, so you become a trusted source. And then people believe the employer to be an important number, I mean, organizations should also help fund local journalism.
What we see is that that's where both Democrats and Republicans come together, local journalism, and there's also things you can do internally. There's so many great professional development programs around media literacy, information sources, even if it's health information or where to find X. Those are just a few of the areas that companies can do. And also by the way, a lot of disinformation is funded by organizations, organizations fund advertising on fake disinformation sites. It's also doing an audit to find out where are you putting money behind? Are you putting money on some of these biased sources? Because that's where they get, it's the clickbait and the revenue and other things that's making them.
I've got to imagine if somebody could uncover perhaps who these organizations are that are doing some of these campaigns and they're spending money supporting organizations or even platforms that are sending out misinformation, disinformation, that could have some collateral impact or negative effect on these organizations, assuming that these might be organizations who are selling products and services.
I mean, for sure, there's a lot of organizations, I mean companies that I can name, but I won't do that, and you can Google what companies fund disinformation campaigns, and they'll actually show you the ads on the sites because they sell their advertising in packages or in other ways. In some cases, you'll have healthcare companies who are advertising, not knowingly, but they've sold their advertising block and they're advertising on anti-vaccination sites. So it's actually working against them, and it seems like that they are anti-vaccination when they're actually very vaccination.
Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Well, this conversation's reminding me of another episode we recorded with PRSA when we were talking with them about civil discourse. So we'll be sure to put a link to that about civil discourse and how to encourage it, and the steps that communicators can take to improve those types of relationships. A note that you shared with us is that misinformation and disinformation continues to adversely affect the trust Americans put in the election process as well as on society as a whole. I'd like to unpack that a little bit with you, Tina, because obviously we've got an election coming around in 12 months from now, and we're recording this on Oct. 23, 2023 for the record. And then obviously society as a whole has, well, it's changed I think, and may not be so pleasant, may not be so welcoming of civil discourse. It's ironic to me that we live in an environment where I think people of certain groups are in some ways receiving more inclusion and more respect than they ever have before. But at the same time, you've got people who are not necessarily following that same belief in that same practice.
I mean, yes, absolutely. And what's interesting is when we ask questions, we're an independent nonprofit research organization, so we don't take a stance. So we make sure when we word our questions that we're not skewing toward any sort of political leaning.
So when we ask a question that, for example, we have disinformation as a threat to our democracy, 74% agree on that, or when we say disinformation undermines our election process, and 75% of people agree with that, it shows you that many Americans on both sides of the political aisle because that's typically where we see the polarization agree that there is significant amounts of disinformation, and I feel like it's one of these areas that has been unaddressed. It's not necessarily for some organization, not for some organizations, but for some people or government entities like a tangible. In fact, you may even remember President Biden appointed a disinformation task force and brought in Nina Janowitz to run it, and she got so creamed by disinformation that she had to step down after just a couple weeks after the announcement because it was too much disinformation was rampant. So it's definitely a huge issue that we're not spending a lot of time tackling or combating.
Yeah, so that's very helpful. We're going to take a quick break and come back with Tina, more of Tina on the other side after this.
You are listening to On Top of PR with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most admired and fastest growing brands. He's the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
Welcome back to On Top of PR. I'm your host, Jason Mudd with Axia Public Relations. We're joined by Tina McCorkindale and we're glad to have you here. Tina, you're with the Institute for Public Relations, a nonprofit research foundation that's doing a lot of great things with misinformation and disinformation awareness and hopefully combating it. Our topic today is really how PR can help journalism survive, and obviously I want to make sure we can get into those details as well.
Right now, we're just kind of unpacking some of your research. Bre is going to do a good job of putting links from our episode notes to that research, both your past research and as soon as it's available, your most current research, which perhaps by the time this airs will be ready. We talked about earlier how Americans continue to view family, friends, and like-minded people as the most trustworthy sources for accurate news or information and the least likely to spread disinformation. So let's talk about that. I think we all have different friends and family groups. Some are more credible and less credible than others, and at the same time, how do we tie that back into how we as public relations professionals can help save journalism?
So yes, year over year, even though I always hear people say family is one of the most credible source of information, but year over year we have family and friends who are at the top of the list, and then we also have people like me as an option, and that's always top of the list. And then lower on the list is people not like me. And we see this even with people who are responsible for spreading disinformation, not their friends or family. And then when you ask who's doing a good job combating disinformation, we also added to that me, I am great at combating disinformation. Then what we've seen, and this is probably some of the problem of where we are, is that we're all in our little bubbles. So most people say they're doing a very good job of combating disinformation, but we know that's not true because we specifically individuals are the primary ones who spread disinformation.
While you may have a lot of bad actors sending things around, it's really us that's facilitating the spread of it, because typically bad actors with disinformation will include content that is more, the purpose is to make you mad or angry, so you'll distribute it, but it wouldn't be distributed unless it was us sharing it. Now, when we look at the media and we ask about different types of media, we have a whole list of the individual media platforms, and we added threads this year. And then we also have a lot of government entities. We have a specific government, some of the popular actors within the government, like the president, speakers of the house, all those things.
Then we also have my organization, PR professionals. So we have a whole laundry list. But then outside of family and friends, when we look at media sources, the ones that both sides of the political aisle agree on is the local broadcast news and local newspapers.
Those are where both sides of the aisle come together because a lot of other outlets, if you say the New York Times, the numbers of the New York Times aren't bad. But then when you look at differences, when we take the data and look at differences between Republicans and Democrats, Democrats are more in the seventies, 70% think that they're, or 67 to 70%, think the New York Times is a very trustworthy source or a somewhat trustworthy source. And then when you look at Republicans, it's in the thirties, but local journals and local news is where the gap between the political parties is much smaller.
And so that's how PR can help –– is by supporting and promoting local journalism.
I mean, absolutely. What we're seeing happen is we've seen just a decimation of local journalism. The UNC Hussman School of Journalism guided by Dr. Penelope Muse. Abernathy puts out a report. The last one they put out was in 2020, and the stats that they give, and I have those, I'll give those to you, so I'm not spreading disinformation myself, is that in the 15 years leading up to 2020, more than one fourth of the country's newspapers have disappeared.
Then from 2018 to 2020, 300 newspapers have closed and 6,000 journalists are no longer in that role. So for organizations, there's a lot that they can do. They can sponsor nonprofits who support research because what we're also seeing is a lot of private equity firms who are buying up large news organizations and then cutting the local journalism because it's not profitable. So companies can sponsor those. There also are different programs, like local Axios is doing a local program, and the Knight Foundation is also sponsoring a really cool initiative called –– it's in Ohio –– and they started off doing one called Signal Cleveland and Signal Akron.
It's funding local journalists to go out and attend community meetings, talk to people, and really get insights into what's, excuse me, what's happening in the community. Because currently what's happening in local newspapers is they'll get rid of some of the local newspaper staff and then they'll plug it in with wire services and national news. So it's a huge gap and an issue, and that's something that we as organizations can help fund and make sure that we're supporting our communities for sure.
So just to be clear, you're saying that PR professionals should look at opportunities like you're describing to support nonprofit groups who are doing things to support local journalism, fund local journalism, and equip them with the tools and resources they need to survive and succeed?
Absolutely. I know Chevron, they were sponsoring their local newspaper. There's also opportunity for organizations to help fund events or sponsor journalists. That is issue though, is making sure that there's a clear separation.
Sure, yeah, definitely.
Right. Kind of much in the same way, even though I wouldn't give Bezos in the Washington Post a great example, but he did help turn around the Washington Post and help fund it and buy it. So when you have those types of the Seattle Times, LA Times, those are papers that are independently run or funded. The Philadelphia Inquirer is funded by a nonprofit. So the funding model makes a significant difference, and it also helps get our message out there for our local communities where we live.
Right, right. Yeah. Well, local journalism is so important and critical to our democracy just as national journalism is as well. I'm biased. I studied journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and they trained me well, and I'm a believer it was.
Best in the nation, so for sure. Yeah.
Yeah. I'm a believer in the power of journalism, the importance of journalism, et cetera, and the journalist creed that Walter Williams wrote many years ago. So let's talk about some important things going on in the world right now, including, excuse me, we've got wars going on in the world, we've got an upcoming election cycle. Can we talk about disinformation on certain platforms and what to look out for and how to protect yourself as a, not only a communicator who might fall into a trap of miss or disinformation, but as well as a consumer in the marketplace?
For sure. Yeah. So I'm going to give a shout out to one of my trustees, Lisa Kaplan. And Athia is a really cool organization that monitors traditional disinformation sites and kind of scans what is the topic, what are people saying? And when we think about what's happening with the Israel-Hamas war, that there is on both sides significant amounts of disinformation and propaganda that's being sent out on channels.
And even Iran is also sending out a lot of disinformation as well about their points. So for companies, sometimes it's very easy to see the disinformation, it's very visible on major sites. You can go to X, formerly Twitter, or you can go to different platforms. But where it gets difficult is when people are having conversations and people aren't listening, and it's hard to do that on your own as an organization. So having an outside perspective of what's actually happening and how to respond is critically important.
The other, and for that being, and that also helps you respond to what's happening with your employees in X market, what's happening to your employees in Israel? How do we respond? But that disinformation piece, when it's public, makes it easy. What's also happening, and there's a great researcher who's been doing work around this from Rutgers, and that's what happens when disinformation is being spread on platforms that you don't have access to. For example, WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a private messaging platform. You can go from a single entity to many people, and there's no way to monitor it or see what sort of disinformation has spread. And that's a major challenge for a lot of organizations.
Yeah, I can completely see that. That makes a lot of sense. So I'm just kind of thinking about all the things we're talking about, and just, to me, it just adds to the stress and responsibilities of professional communications, our communicators, and how hard we have to work and all that. And then also we as American consumers, we're turning toward our own media to make sure they're providing us with accurate and well researched and informative information. Yet in the age of the internet, everybody's rushing to meet a deadline at the same time. And so I think that just again, amplifies the importance of journalism, doing it well and doing it right, not necessarily doing it for the clicks and not necessarily doing it just to be the first, but to get it right. So journalism has this huge responsibility, and if we don't support journalism, then who is going to provide us with that information?
Yeah, exactly right. I 100% agree with you.
Yeah. Yeah. Tina, was there anything else that you wanted to cover during our time together?
I don't think so. I thought I did a great job talking about our resources.
I think you did too.
It's just going to get worse. But I will say, I talked to Lisa about it, and she did say she's very hopeful. She's very hopeful moving forward because of what we've seen in the past with disinformation, that hopefully the next election cycle people will become more aware. But what I'll also say from what I noticed is that disinformation actors are also becoming savvier at creating disinformation. And also we have deep fakes and other videos and stuff that's going to be very problematic for us.
Well, and with AI just continuing to develop, right, I think.
And AI too.
DeepFakes are going to become more and more common. I'm working with our team on creating cybersecurity policies that make sure that we can't be deep faked or at least be aware of how it might work, so that if it is happening, you might pause for a minute and think about it. And consumers need to educate themselves on cybersecurity as well. We do a lot of cybersecurity work, PR work for cybersecurity companies or companies who want to be able to communicate before, during, and after a cyber incident occurs.
Tina, if our audience wants to connect with you after this presentation or listening to this conversation, one, how do they connect with you personally, and how do they best connect to the Institute for Public Relations?
So if you want to connect with the Institute for Public Relations, you can go to our website instituteforpr.org. We have a great social media channel, and we also have a weekly free research letter. And I'll say that all our research is available for free, so you can download it. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I love hearing from people and yes, but I'm really excited that you had me, so thanks for inviting me to your podcast.
Yeah, Tina, thank you. I'm going to put you on the spot in just a minute, and if you could just kind of summarize the key things you want the audience to take away from today's conversation, that would be great. In the interim, I will tell the audience that when you connect with Tina on LinkedIn or anybody on LinkedIn, do yourself and them a favor of make sure you express how you heard of them and why you're connecting with them just so they know you're not somebody just clicking a bunch of invites and you don't really have a relationship or interest in authentically connecting with that person. I know I prefer it when people tell me why they're connecting with me on LinkedIn, because some people I just don't know. And sometimes people will send me a message, I'm like, yeah, I'd like to have that conversation. Or, Hey, thanks for acknowledging that you heard me speak at this conference and you want to connect versus just somebody sending you a blank invitation where you're just not sure what's going to happen after that. Right. Tina, I see you nodding.
Yeah, I definitely get a lot of vendor LinkedIn connections, so anytime people can add a personal note, I'm always very excited for that.
Right. Well, and candidly, sometimes people are doing business with our organization and we don't yet know it, or we haven't yet had exposure to that individual and they're just trying to get connected. And if they would express that and say, Hey, Jason, I do some stuff with your company and I'd like to get connected with you, I would love to know that and know them as well. So yeah. So Tina, take us home. What's the summary? What are the takeaways? What are the action steps that we as public relations professionals and those that just tune in, what do we need to do to be staying on top of PR when it comes to misinformation, disinformation, and the Institute for Public Relations?
Yes. I'll say number one is to take disinformation very seriously and also to be good stewards of information ourselves, making sure that we put all information that we're authentic, we're transparent, but we are using the same processes that we expect of others.
Number two, to dig into what your organization is doing to currently prevent or educate people about media literacy. And if they're not, it's a great opportunity to do that.
Number three, check and see where your advertising dollars are being spent. Are you funding organizations or media programs that may be biased? And are you funding political actors who may be spreading disinformation as well? That's really important. And I would say just be very responsible yourself, say that I am responsible for combating disinformation, and so is our organization and actively going out and combating it.
And then last I will say is to save local journalism and become a great steward, whether it's you or your organization supporting local journalism by your whole department, local newspaper subscriptions, whatever it takes. Support the local newspapers so that way they can help make your community better. But having a well-staffed local journalism station is also great for media relations and as the most trusted source of information for both sides of the political aisle in terms of media. That's where people also should be pitching a lot of the media and the programs that they're doing.
That was great, Tina. What a great summary. I love the idea. I mean, if you're not subscribing to local journalism, why not? If you have influence over paid media or advertising dollars, make sure you're spending some in the local community. I love the idea of gifting subscriptions. If you're worried about the environment, maybe you gift a digital edition instead of a print edition as well.
And then you mentioned also that we have a responsibility or say to yourself, I have a responsibility. I just start thinking, maybe that's a sticker to put on a laptop that you guys can produce. Maybe that's a social media frame that people could put on around their profile and stuff like that. Or maybe you could create a meme or just something that you really encourage your members and your subscribers to consider putting out there as well. I think that's a really good idea. If you're not doing it, please borrow it.
Yeah, and I even sent one of our local representatives in Washington is Camila Jayapal, and I sent her a note to support a local journalism bill that was in Congress a couple years ago, and she wrote back saying how much she believed that local journalism is critically important and that she was going to support the bill. So there are also some great legislative actions and supporting journalism that you can do on the side as well.
Well, I hope you'll keep us up to date on those things. We'll be sure to share those items and opportunities with our audience as well. So with that, I want to thank Tina for being on our episode today. It was a pleasure getting to know her better and a pleasure sharing some of her thought leadership and her unique insight and the great work that the Institute for Public Relations is doing.
If you're not familiar with the organization, please be sure to visit their website, sign up for their free subscriptions, and look at opportunities to support them as well as local journalism. If you enjoyed this episode, take a moment to share it with a colleague or friend. We all have, as Tina said, a role and responsibility of improving how we handle Miss and disinformation that's in the marketplace. And in order to be good stewards of that, we have to be proactive in speaking about it on a regular basis. So with that, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to help you stay on top of PR, be well.
This has been On Top of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. And check out past shows at ontopofpr.com.
- On Top of PR is produced by Axia Public Relations, named by Forbes as one of America’s Best PR Agencies. Axia is an expert PR firm for national brands.
- On Top of PR is sponsored by ReviewMaxer, the platform for monitoring, improving, and promoting online customer reviews.
About your host Jason Mudd
On Top of PR host, Jason Mudd, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands and fastest-growing companies. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002. Forbes named Axia as one of America’s Best PR Agencies.
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