Commentary

Fake News OK For Some

A new survey data, recently released from the boutique PR firm Bospar, turned an eye on the ethics of the PR industry. The survey revealed how many PR professionals are willing to cross ethical boundaries to secure coverage. The survey zeroed in on PR professionals to determine where they draw the line between right and wrong. 

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The majority (around three-quarters) of them agreed that some more blatant actions, like stealing, cheating, lying and taking credit for other people’s work, were wrong. But, while 72% feel inventing “fake news” is wrong, but 28% are perfectly willing to manufacture news.

When it comes to grayer areas, they have even fewer compunctions, says the report:

  • 55% feel fine about using click-bait headlines
  • 54% are willing to tell white lies
  • 51% don’t think it’s wrong to sensationalize boring news

While their larger sense of ethics may be questionable, their work ethic certainly is not, says the report. Only a third of PR professionals stop working at 6 p.m. 11% only “log off” when they’re taking paid time off, and another 12% say they never stop working. 

Curtis Sparrer, a principal of Bospar, says “The best PR people will ensure their clients get coverage that supports their business objectives, and that includes securing stories that won’t explode later due to a serious ethics violation. I’m heartened to see that the majority… have solid ethics and are working around the clock to do their best work for their clients without any risky business…”

The new survey of Public Relations professionals from Bospar PR, reports that, while 72% feel inventing “fake news” is wrong, 28% are perfectly willing to manufacture news. Meanwhile, more than half are okay with using click-bait headlines, telling white lies and/or don’t take issue with sensationalizing boring news.

In contrast, work-hour ethics remain strong, as only a third of PR professionals stop working at 6pm, with 11% only logging off during PTO (paid time off) and 12% stating they never stop working. 

About Bospar

Bospar is a boutique tech PR firm featuring a team of highly seasoned professionals who exist to put tech companies on the map. 

6 comments about "Fake News OK For Some".
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  1. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, July 26, 2018 at 7:54 a.m.

    Absolutrly NOTHING about the methodology of this research?  The sample? The sample size?  How it was done? How were respondents invited to participate?

    And you report on this as if it were a valid and reliable piece of research? It may be, but please Jack, we need the methodology before we assume any of this is at all accurate. 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 26, 2018 at 9:04 a.m.

    Even if 28% admitting it are willing to fake it up and half think click bait is perfectly acceptable - that is disheatening. 

  3. Kathy Broniecki from Envoy, Inc., July 26, 2018 at 9:11 a.m.

    I'm with M Cohen - this is not representative of the industry. What makes this credible research when we cannot know the sampling size, etc. I didn't get a survey to complete.

  4. Gabrielle Ayala from Propeller Insights, July 27, 2018 at 2:56 p.m.

    A national online survey of 1,010 US consumers, ages 18+ was conducted by Propeller Insights, between April 6th and April 11, 2018. All survey responses were nationally representative to the U.S. population for age, gender, region, and ethnicity. All participants have signed up to participate in online survey’s and are double opted into online databases by providing their demographic information, which is then used to recruit them. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

  5. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates replied, July 27, 2018 at 4:12 p.m.

    Gabrielle, are you commenting on the right string? Or jack@mediapost.com, did you get this wrong?  This reporting says (I think) that this was a survey of PR professionals, not US consumers. 

  6. Jack Loechner from Mediapost Communications, July 30, 2018 at 6:52 p.m.

    thanks Gabriella, Jack

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