You might be sick of hearing about Fake News, but to major media outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, this type of yellow journalism is a constant threat. Media giants like Facebook and Google now serve as the primary news delivery network for many Americans, worrying journalists and further obstructing the consumer’s path to real news.
In response, news organizations have banned together in recent plans to ask Congress for an anti-trust exemption. This would ultimately allow them to engage in union-like collective negotiations with Google and Facebook over revenue-sharing agreements and other support mechanisms.
As TheVerge.com puts it, the goal is both “to give the journalism business some leverage against all-powerful web platform owners” and “to help undermine the value and spread of fake news and viral hoaxes that are currently infecting Facebook’s News Feed and the top results of Google’s search engine.”
Traditional media and social media work both side-by-side and head-to-head, relying on one another to create and deliver content while simultaneously competing for attention. This collaborative yet competitive relationship directly affects the journalist, the consumer, and the middle man – PR professionals.
As a PR agency, we interact with the media on a regular basis, striving to promote our clients in the most organic way possible while reaching the maximum amount of potential customers. Prestigious news publications like business journals and newspapers are the ideal location for professional features and other lengthy content; On the other hand, social media newsfeeds like Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram are ideal for buzzworthy headlines attracting millions of clicks.
If the dominating media giants swallow the journalism businesses, real sources become limited and unregulated news can takeover. In public relations, we rely on both social media and traditional media, and clients rely on us to utilize both networks appropriately and effectively. We seek a variety of press to reach a variety of consumers, and the proposed anti-trust exemptions will keep this variety intact.
The power of Facebook and Google are immense, unignorable, and currently virtually untouched by market forces. Any sort of checks and balances on these giants will benefit the media holistically, and as a media-oriented industry, we will surely benefit as well.