Most of us are guilty of flipping through the supermarket tabloids at the checkout line, being drawn in by the controversial headlines that blur the boundaries of true media reporting.
Certain media outlets have taken liberties with news reporting for many years, but ‘fake news’ has been thrust into the spotlight like never before in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election. With the surge in fabricated stories and websites that at first glance look like credible news sources, there are potentially serious problems for communicators in the healthcare space. The proliferation of fake news may create confusion for consumers in what they believe to be true, and therefore undermine the value that accurate media delivers. Patients or caregivers looking for disease information may see a hoax headline about the therapeutic area and jump to conclusions without first seeking out reliable sources.
In addition, the deluge of hoax headlines in the news landscape will make it even more important that we bring news to only trusted sources and credible news outlets. Building those relationships will be critical to ensuring accurate information is being shared among trustworthy sources.
Our ability to control fake news stories in less credible outlets may be limited, but there are some things in our control, including:
As fake news continues to gain prominence, we as healthcare communicators, need to understand the potentially larger problems that are bubbling under the controversial hoax headlines and help our clients navigate through the increasingly complicated news landscape.
This piece was originally posted on Biosector 2’s blog here.