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Move the Meter: The Year of Fake News and #MeToo

2017 communications trends that impacted us all
December 19, 2017

While the president may have popularized the term “fake news”, it’s taken on a life of its own with people here and abroad seizing on the phrase to delegitimize opposing points of view.
We’re left with an environment where trust — and distrust — of the messenger is key, and journalists, brands and spokespeople must work harder than ever to earn credibility.
It’s the latest existential challenge to an industry that has faced its fair share over the last two decades.
Beyond politicians who now dismiss unfavorable coverage as “fake news,” there’s also real fake news, which is proving to be tough to police on social media. Media consumers may understandably be confused but seemed still to distinguish this year between what they saw as more and less trustworthy sources.
Here’s a look back at other trends that shaped 2017.
VP of Strategy and Operations Brandon Zelasko:
President Trump’s use of Twitter stole the headlines pretty much every morning in 2017, forever changing the nature of the White House press briefings and (likely) how presidents will communicate in the future. It is encouraging others to bypass the media (to the media’s dismay) and to communicate directly with key audiences.
We’ve entered an era when companies increasingly demonstrate their brand values through issue advocacy. The recent, vocal stance taken by Patagonia and REI on the plan to roll back national monuments serves as a prime example of issue advocacy by brands… and something we’ll see even more of in 2018.
Editorial Strategist Katharine Brenton:
The women’s movement really shaped our nation and world, from Time’s Person of the Year being the silence breakers to marches and demonstrations around the world. It’s impossible to overlook what has come to be known as the #MeToo movement. The year is ending with a head-spinning series of high-profile men toppling from their positions amid accusations of sexual misconduct. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to see women taken seriously. On the other hand, feminists — and many others — fear a backlash to the #MeToo movement as due process is swept aside in the rush to respond to troubling accusations.
Owned Media Strategist Laura Bernero:
Reflecting on the fires and hurricanes that ravaged so many communities in 2017, I am once again reminded of the power of compassion — and communication — in the midst of tragedy. From stories of crowdfunding campaigns that helped families rebuild, to communities thanking fire personnel in groundswells of social media support, it’s nice to see people harness the power of social media for good.

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