On Friday, something a little special happened within the regional Press. An industry built on journalistic competition came together across the country with one aim: To shout about our most special asset: Our trusted journalism.
In an age of fake news, misinformation, disinformation and of suspicion or contempt for anything outside the personal social bubble, regional journalism could probably be accused of not doing enough to shout about why it is still a trusted source of news and information.
Over the past 10 days, titles from publishers across the country have run a campaign called ‘Fighting Fake News’ which sought to spell out the processes the regional Press has in place to ensure that the news published is as accurate as can be. Of course, there will always be mistakes – but part of the campaign was explaining what happens when mistakes do happen, and that the regional Press never sets out to mislead.
Last Friday was ‘interactive day’ for the campaign, with dozens of newsrooms using the hashtag #trustednewsday to give readers an insight into what we do. Every journalist has probably experienced the multitude of questions people ask about what we see as mundane parts of our job when we reveal what we do for a living. #trustednewsday tapped into that sense of curiosity.
Of course, there were difficult messages coming back from readers. The curse of Fake News is that whenever we get something wrong, it’s likely it’ll be billed as Fake News by someone, even if just in jest. In Q and As readers asked about clickbait, spelling errors, training, mistakes and increasing cover prices. the best way to deal with such complaints is to behave as every other customer service industry does – by tackling it head on and either promising to do better or explaining why a situation is so.
Some of the highlights from the day on social media are below – hopefully plenty of food for thought for future campaigns up and down the country. There were many more great examples too.