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The privileged role of traditional media as gatekeepers of news and entertainment is being challenged by a wide range of digital disruptors with their own ideologically biased media outlets and by the pervasiveness of social media.
Keeping tabs on a brand’s reputation becomes increasingly complicated in this evolving landscape. As traditional media are circumvented, corporate communication professionals, mostly trained and experienced in the techniques of the past, need to develop new strategies.
The technology-driven growth in media outlets, speed of communication, and the ability to target accurately presents enormous opportunities for communicating all forms of corporate message.
On the other hand, digital media can rapidly spread negative stories that damage reputations – exacerbated by their tendency to feed people’s need to find someone to blame for their woes. There is also a growth in stakeholder media – such as Greenpeace or Breitbart – that may be relatively professional but offer a one-sided view.
The traditional media landscape is also changing. Revelations about fake news and evidence that phoney social media accounts have been used to spread fabricated stories have undermined people’s trust in new media and given new impetus to research-based investigative journalism. Furthermore, after decades of lethargy and loss of market share, the traditional media are becoming increasingly aggressive.
As a result, the role of the communications professional needs to widen and become far more strategic. As well as shaping messages to have maximum impact through new media, they need to monitor the growing number media outlets, deal with purveyors of fake news that have minimal regard for professionalism or veracity, and devise effective channels to spread their message in this evolving new landscape.
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