I bear a certain degree of responsibility over the event subtitle: “Business helping politics” even though I was a bit more extreme: “Business talk drowning rhetoric”.
One friend asked me to explain what I mean here:
I believe that finding a way to talk through differences is always the alternative solution to any problem, and this is now the sacred mission of communication pros globally
The word “sacred” is not there by chance.
When I started in the Communications business about 20 years ago, our task was simple: we were our client advocate. Of course, we counseled clients to avoid the grossest blunders, to avoid lies and stick to the truth – but that was out of simple practicality. Lies are more difficult to remember than the truth and self-contradiction is always a risk.
We did not have to care much about the general public best interest, because we weren’t talking to the General Public, but to the Media: it was THEIR job to double-check, balance, get confirmations before the stories went to print.
But, alas, the Digital Disruption of the Publishing Industry moved quickly to undermine a business model that did not place premiums in the right places: the protection of the General Public interest WAS NOT what paid the rent at big publishing houses: what paid the rent was the creation of a mass-platform that could carry advertisements. When a new, even more massive platform came about, advertisers voted with their wallets.
The baby went out with the dirty water, though, because this new platform did not have any of the fact-checking, investigation and in general, the ethics of printing what was genuinely believed to be facts; the principles of sound journalism did not make it through the zero-attrition New Media where the cost of setting them up was so low that nobody had to worry about their success and could wait for the magic of organic to channel traffic to the stuff people liked.
Journalists’ defense of their profession was interpreted as a mere defense of accrued positions (and salaries) and was promptly disrupted. One of the results was the triumph of propaganda over facts, biased accounts that sound just like truthful stories and in general, the lowering of journalistic standards.
I call it “sacred” because, although the category of Journalists may not exist anymore going forward, their Ethics must be safeguarded religiously by anybody who will engage in communications in the future.
Instead of worrying about stupid backward battles tightly connected to a situation that does not exist anymore, Communications professionals (Journalists and Public Relations practitioners alike) should join forces in developing a new standard to ensure that
INFORMATION BUBBLES UP OVER PROPAGANDA
Is this something that could be started in Kyiv?