I was lucky enough to interview Francis Ingham for this week’s #ThursdayThought. Francis is the Director General of the PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) and the Chief Executive of the ICCO (International Communications Consultancy Organisation). He went to Oxford University, gaining a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics followed by a politics background before PR.  The topic on my mind this week and the one I sent to Francis was fake news. There has been a lot of speculation around this recently so who better to quiz than someone like Francis?! LE: Why is fake news generated?  Francis: Fake news is nothing new. It’s as old as story-telling itself, and story-telling is as old as human history. What *is* new is the ubiquitousness of social media, and the proliferation of platforms has multiplied the opportunities for fake news to be created and spread.  First, we have the set of false stories that are published with the deliberate intent of sharing untrue data and information in order to increase traffic on a particular website to generate revenue through advertising. The second category of fake news can be defined as stories that contain some truths, but also some (or indeed many) inaccuracies, because the journalist or blogger has not done a thorough fact-check. In many instances, these stories come from reputable publishers and newspapers.  LE: What does fake news mean for PR and how does it affect the industry’s reputation and credibility? Francis: The industry relies on a properly-functioning media to be able to…

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