Buckle up, communicators. If you liked 2016, then 2020 could be the rare sequel that does not disappoint, in no small part due to enhanced technology. Here are three reasons why communicators will need to have eyes in the back of their heads — and keep them open 24 hours a day — amid what’s bound to be next year’s unprecedentedly intense news cycle.
First, to find out why, let’s go to the video. Is it real or not? It may sound like science fiction, but talk to CCOs and more than a few will tell you they’re studying up on deep fakes. While most prognosticators are worried about the effect a deep fake — a convincing video showing a public figure making an inauthentic statement — could have on global or international politics, business leaders are worried, too. The first prominent deepfake could just as well show up in a fraudulent customer service message as it could on the dark web.
As the leader of a country currently ravaged by deadly bushfires, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been panned for releasing a video that some viewed as an advertisement. The video, released on the PM’s official social media channel Saturday, outlines the many ways the government has aided in the fires. But given that the situation in Australia is worsening, critics are slamming the video as insensitive, tone-deaf, and "exploiting taxpayer dollars".
The journalism industry has much in common with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Both had horrendous seasons in 2019 and have disintegrating fan bases. The Bengals, fortunately, get a No. 1 draft pick for their futility. The news media get no such reward for ineffectiveness. The journalism world just keeps digging a deeper credibility hole, seemingly unable to generate the professionalism that citizens demand and the nation surely needs.
Some corners of the journalism industry still strive to serve the mission of holding the powerful accountable and providing for the information needs of a democracy. The Washington Post’s extensive investigation of failings in Afghanistan is evidence of such work. Reporters in small-town America routinely cover city council meetings and school boards, all for little pay and prestige. Such work often goes unappreciated as it is overwhelmed by the higher-profile journalistic blunders made by big media in corporate towers on the East Coast.