Fake News and Alternative Facts

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

9 February 2017

Alternative Facts and Newspaper Rebranding

Alternative Facts and fake news are the new headlines. (Read a blog I wrote on fake news here.) The White House has created a new genre of entertainment. Fact checking.

But the current political climate is a godsend for the beleaguered newspaper business. Struggling to find their place in modern culture, newspapers have seen subscribership plummet and advertising evaporate. By all accounts, it is not a great time to be newspaper.

Alternative Facts. Absolutely Needed.

If you are like me, you are tired of news as entertainment. Aside from NPR, I have tried to limit my exposure to broadcast news.

A Trump tweet and a near-universal groan passes for news today. 24-hour news networks trot around behind POTUS repeating every spontaneous whim or whisper as if it was news. It may be important considering Trump’s position. But it is not news. It is news held captive. The dictated agenda from a political team. A team with no real point of view.

The Trump Administration creates alternative facts by the minute.

Alternative facts do not exist. Lying does.

I enjoy Anderson Cooper

It is difficult to not like Anderson Cooper. He is both disarming and interesting as a personality. But Anderson Cooper 360 is not so much a news program as it is a pop-culture reality show.

Headlines are Presidential rants and raves. And talking heads spin on and on about what each tweet and pronouncement of alternative facts MEANS. But spare me the predictable spin. Give me real news.

Newspapers have a window of opportunity

The Trump Administration labeled traditional news sources as the opposition. That’s because alternative facts and fake news keeps journalists busy. Fact checking is mostly just research.

My subscription to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker are immeasurable valuable right now. Phily.com (the Philadelphia Enquirer/Daily News portal) gets my attention constantly. CNN, FOX and network News? Not so much. (Read and article on rebranding newspapers here.)

“Fake News smells like opportunity for newspapers for a brand guy like me.”

The New Yorker offers 12 Issues for $12

A great deal for well written articles. Positioning itself against fake news and alternative facts is smart. But The New Yorker is not NEWS in the traditional sense. The articles are well written, interesting and somewhat timely. But they lack urgency because the publication is not a daily. The New Yorker has more in common with Time and Newsweek than the Washington Post and New York Times.

Like the Senate, when it works, it’s contemplative and reflective. News is more about urgency.

Anderson Cooper 360.

Stop confusing entertainment with NEWS.

Rebranding Rules

Position yourself AGAINST the competition. Embrace the adversarial position and play it out in everything you do. For newspapers, the self-proclaimed competition sets this position. The Trump Administration.

So, grab it. Own it and flaunt it.

Urgency is what separates news from pop culture. Urgency is the jet fuel of journalism. It can be rebranded as the lifeblood of our civilization.

Newspapers should use social media to point out fake news and alternative facts. No need to share the whole story. Just let readers know that being informed means just that. Awareness is not enough. This is about knowledge. Not just information.

I don’t know about you but I aspire to be knowledgeable. Not just informed. Now. That’s a BRAND.

 

 

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