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How the public’s lack of trust in the media affects your company

By Lisa Goldsberry

rawpixel-780496-unsplash-13 ways your company can rise above the fray and maintain a positive image

According to the Knight Foundation, public trust in the media is at an all-time low. In a recent survey conducted with Gallup, the group dedicated to supporting quality journalism and engaging communities found some shocking facts. One surprising finding was that participants ranked newspaper and television news lowest, next to Congress, among major institutions they trust. This is troubling information for companies because they need media exposure and coverage – and for the public to believe their news. Public relations can help you navigate these issues and show your company in the best light.

Some recent incidents of distrust in the media

  • The Weather Channel’s recent false report. While reporting on Hurricane Florence, a correspondent was bracing against winds too strong for him to stand up. Meanwhile, behind him, two men are walking around effortlessly without any regard for the so-called hard winds. Social media was quick to attack, realizing that the reporter was obviously acting and trying to make the situation appear more calamitous than it actually was at the time.
  • Google and the election. If you perform a Google search about President Trump and the election, you are likely to find mostly negative news stories on the subject. Is this because that’s all there is? Not according to Breitbart. The right-leaning syndicated news outlet released a video showing Google’s top executives complaining about the election outcome. In the video, they also denigrate those who voted for Trump and vow to impede their rise in popularity.
  • Coverage of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. NBC published a social media post by a former classmate of one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. In the post, Cristina King Miranda stated that Ford’s allegations of his sexual misconduct were true. She later deleted her post, admitting that she had no personal knowledge of the incident, and NBC had to revise its story. Other major news outlets, including MSNBC and CNN, used a joke Kavanaugh told years ago to claim that he was admitting guilt in the misconduct incident. However, when you view the event in its entirety, you can clearly see that the joke was completely unrelated.

How this public distrust may affect your company

  • The public is outraged at the government and media for bias and partisanship. It may not be long before they turn on companies and corporations for their practices as well, calling for additional policies and regulations.
  • In addition to distrust of media, reports have also found a lack of trust in corporations. More than 60 percent of respondents in a recent survey rated CEOs as only somewhat or not at all credible.
  • When you do receive media coverage people may not believe it. Media coverage should be a third-party endorsement for your successes; however, the public must trust it. Many now see news as a hybrid of facts and the opinions of journalists, which could shine a negative light on your information as well.

What your company can do about it

  1. Publish your own information.

Owned media doesn’t get much credit these days, and it should. The outlets you control, such as your brochures and social media pages, allow you to tell your story your way. Sure, some might consider it biased; however, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?

  1. Be transparent.

Just because you can control releasing your own information doesn’t mean you should lie. Even if there is bad news to report, get in front of it and shape the conversation – and tell the truth. Your customers and the public will view your honesty as a breath of fresh air, especially in the current climate of mistrust. They’ll reward you with their business and positive reviews.

  1. Hire a PR agency to help you.

Partnering with the right PR firm will help you navigate the dangerous waters of media coverage. At Axia Public Relations, our experts can show you how to better engage with your customers and act strategically to ensure you get the positive news coverage your company needs.

To find out more, contact us or download Axia’s complimentary e-book “Learn Media Relations from the Media” today.

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lisag-newClients love Lisa’s engaging writing and PR experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked with Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa.


Featured photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Topics: media relations, media, earned media, owned media

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