Media Advertising and Profitability in the Age of Fake News
Associate professor Ed Russell spent 25 years in the advertising business working for some of the largest and best known firms in the world before joining the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications faculty. Russell sees new ad campaigns by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and others as necessary in the current political and social climate.
“We live in dangerous times where for the first time in my memory we can’t agree on what truth is,” says Russell. “There are thousands of reasons for it exacerbated by the internet and social media. Prior to the internet we got our news from trained professionals and while they have always had political leanings they were just interpreting the same facts through different lenses. The internet brought the age of the ‘citizen journalist’ where anyone with a computer and camera phone could and did report news on blogs and social media. Some did a great job, but many hijacked the new medium to push their own agenda creating and spreading fake news and creating a tribal society where everyone has their own private set of facts. President Trump didn’t create this; he just used it.”
“President Trump is doing what countless dictators before him did in trying to delegitimize the media, facts, truth and news. And, he has completely succeeded with a group that looks to be about 20% of adults in the US. After being called names by a schoolyard bully for the past three years, some in the media are taking a stand and standing up for truth again. They won’t convince the 20%, but they will embolden the 80% who just want to see this childish nonsense stop. And, the message is proving good for circulation and maybe ratings.”
“The New York Times has seen some of their best growth in subscriptions. TV news viewership overall is up though it appears we are heading to our opposing corners with both FOX and MSNBC showing the greatest growth. The strategy of standing for truth has been very successful for the New York Times; it may prove to be for CNN as well.”
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