Fake News Alert: Dial I For Irony

Irony alert – from where we sit, a lot of native advertising and sponsored content is just a hair’s breadth away from fake news. In fact, the fake news uproar has just about killed off native advertising as a viable revenue option for reputable publishers. So we are trying to wrap out heads around this piece of sponsored content appearing in AdNews. Are you dizzy yet?

Let’s move on.  

Mary Ann Azer is the Executive Director at Magazine Networks, Australia’s equivalent to the MPA here in the States. She writes:

“To quote Steve Olenski from Forbes Magazine, fake news has been, well, in the news lately. And unlike Donald Trump, I’m not talking about the type of media coverage you don’t like. I’m talking about sites and articles deliberately created to mislead people into believing and sharing inaccurate information.”

Azer rightly notes that fake news can influence elections, send the stock market up or down, and cause all sorts of other mischief, both personal professional. (She cites a wild story that I haven’t heard yet, that Germany’s Angela Merkel is quite possibly Hitler’s daughter. Who writes this stuff?)

It’s become such a “thing” that, in Australia, “fake news” was nominated for Word of the Year due to its broad influence.

Again she’s absolutely right in her assessment that this is a unique time for magazine brands to step up and fill the trust gap left by the fake news epidemic.

“We know consumers want reliable, authentic, accurate and thought-provoking content. And the research shows that magazine brands are uniquely placed to deliver it,” Azer writes.

Indeed they are, and it’s no wonder that many are calling 2017 “The Year of Magazine Media” for just this reason. So we absolutely agree when she says: “Consumers are hungry for quality, curated content that speaks to their interests, whilst ad partners are taking a long hard look at where they invest. This is certainly an exciting time for magazine publishers. And we will keep doing what we do best – delivering that quality content that readers can believe in.”

So… maybe I’m nitpicking? But we know sponsored content has a trust problem. In fact, Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute warned that is could be the death of media brands. Perhaps Azer’s message would have been more effective if it wasn’t sponsored content itself.