There is a real blurring of the news lines online.

Who owns news and who has the right to create it? Right now, news is a commodity that is owned by those willing to create it. Sources of news are no longer mainstream media. Subject matter experts, topic enthusiasts, hobbyists and couch commentators are all feeding the ever-hungry Internet and social network news feeds. 

So how do we separate news from narrative in a world of content shock?

Coming up in episode 67:

  • > Who owns news anyway?
  • > How to turn news into narrative to shape public opinion
  • > I speak to Tony Abad, former Bloomberg journalist and lawyer about the skills of diplomacy, communications and public trust in the Digital Age

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Column | Who owns news anyway?

Our democracies are in danger of dying. This was the stark message from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a recent commencement address at Harvard University. 

“The issues we navigate as a society will only intensify. The disinformation will only increase. The pull into the comfort of our tribes will be magnified. But we have it within us to ensure that this doesn’t mean we fracture.”

“… the foundation of a strong democracy includes trust in institutions, experts, and government — and that this can be built up over decades but torn down in mere years.”

I was asked at a recent senior leadership team meeting how quickly trust can be lost on social media for government bodies. “You’re only as good as your last communications” was my response. 

The balance of fear of open and transparent communications versus the risk of attracting criticism is a conundrum that public sector leaders are having right now. But this mindset is one of protecting ourselves rather than serving the public. 

So back to my original question, who owns news anyway?

Be the author of your own news story that is backed by:

  • > Facts 
  • > Explainer information in plain English compiled by a subject matter expert 
  • > Disseminated in content formats that perform well on the social networks
  • > Answer the questions of the public 
  • > Identify gaps in your communications by leaning into the comments 
  • > Learn by taking action
  • > Iterate and improve each time 

News is in the public interest. Public sector’s role is to serve the public. You are a source of news.

Consulting | How to turn news into narrative to shape public opinion

  1. Establish the public interest facts
  2. Understand the public conversation around this topic
  3. Fine tune your messaging to answer the public’s questions 
  4. Develop an episodic content series such as video or podcasts to delve deeper into a subject and bring in a range of voices 
  5. Be transparent and timely with your public responses
  6. Make this content evergreen and optimise it on your website and digital channels so it’s easily found by the public 
  7. Rinse and repeat this approach for improved public reach and engagement

Interview with Tony Abad

Tony Abad was a former host and broadcast journalist at Bloomberg. Now host of the Digital Diplomat Show, CEO of TradeAdvisors and a Law Professor, he has a wealth of experience in international trade from a legal perspective. 

Subscribe to Digital Diplomat Show

Follow Tony on Twitter: @tonyabad


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