Is Fake News Hurting Your Reputation in DC?

Jennifer Curley by Jennifer Curley | May 9, 2018

Public trust in the media is low (or so says 90% of what we read on the internet). In DC, where newsfeeds are flooded with politics, policy and excessive clickbait, it’s even worse.

For those trying to establish themselves as a trusted source in DC, cries of “fake news” (whether real or unfounded) are creating new challenges.

In a world where tweets are the new press conferences and millennials aren’t the only ones skimming news on a screen, building trust with your audiences and stakeholders is a 24/7 job. If you haven’t already adjusted your strategy, it’s time you do so.

You can’t always avoid a run-in with “fake news,” but you can decide how you respond. Here are a few ways you can prevent and prepare for a potential “fake news” crisis.

Stay Savvy on Social







The speed, virality and user-generated nature of social media make it a hotbed for misinformation and disinformation (yes, there’s a difference!). In fact, falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth, especially if they deal with politics. Be diligent and constantly screen what you post, share and engage with, whether from a personal account or your company’s. If something smells fishy, trust your gut and take the time to investigate. Verify the legitimacy of content and then verify again. Keep those tabs open, and be on the lookout for bots.

Protect Your Rep

When everyone from the President to CNN is under constant scrutiny, it’s vital that you build and maintain solid relationships with your stakeholders and your audience. Find out who they are, where they are, and what they are looking for. Establish yourself and your organization as a go-to source for consistent, reliable value-adds. Even one slip up can (and will) impact your reputation – and not in a good way.

It is Time to Hit Send








News is travelling at the speed of sound. If you want to stay on top of a “fake news” crisis, be prepared to respond quickly. Gone are the days when press releases need to be checked by the entire executive team and the only spokesperson is the CEO. If you’re not agile, you may break under the pressure.

You Are Not Alone








A run-in with “fake news” doesn’t have to discredit you or your organization. Whether you’re lacking time, a strategy or expertise, don’t be afraid to phone a friend. As PR people, we have done this before and have the experience and tools necessary to monitor, mitigate and innovate at every step in the process.