What do the media have to say about the acceleration of information and fact-checking?

On 6 March, 2024
5 min
media fact checking

The arrival of "new media" and the evolution of traditional media have led to new ways of operating. The need for immediacy, transparency and responsiveness, the constant need for images... The proliferation of false information has led to the development of fact-checking, making it possible to verify the claims of politicians, CEOs... Have communicators fully grasped the extent of the profound changes that have affected the media and the new ways in which information is disseminated? Do they need to reinvent their press relations strategies? And what do journalists expect from PR professionals?

Wiztrust, in partnership with Entreprises & Médias and the Social Media Club, held a Cercle Dircom bringing together over 60 of them. Guests: Roger Coste, Co-founder of Brut, Armelle Le Goff, Editorial Director of 20 Minutes, Céline Pigalle, Editorial Director of BFM TV, and Nicolas Pellet, Co-founder and Director of MAD (FIGARO).

How are the media dealing with the acceleration of the new era?

"I've always chosen to be in the hottest media. My personal credo is that it's not the news channels that have created acceleration. It's the technical resources available to us that have created it", says Céline Pigalle, Editorial Director of BFM TV. For her, the reason for the channel's success "is that we have taken on board the possibility of giving priority to live coverage. This has created a unique proposition that didn't exist in the media. Live gives us extra freedom of tone".

Brut was able to do just that with its reporter Rémy Buisine, who does very long live broadcasts on Facebook. "Brut is the world's No. 2 production platform for millenials," says co-founder Roger Coste. "We produce around 40 pieces of fresh content a day, which can be adapted for any country and translated into any language", he continues. The strategy of the medium born on Facebook and Twitter is international: "We want to develop in more than 50 countries. We've come to disrupt the news business with a modern, innovative narrative in a market that won't be served by traditional media". But he doesn't want his medium to be pitted against the traditional media: "Brut is not BFMTV's competitor, it's a complement. Our development is geographical", he reassures us.

The media company, which has just launched a website and an application, wants to innovate in the advertising field by using a format they have called "engaging ad". "If the brand doesn't have an engaging approach, if the brand doesn't evolve, we won't accept to do it", warns Roger Coste.

For Armelle Le Goff, Editorial Director of 20 Minutes, the time taken to provide information is speeding up, and so is the workload for journalists. When it comes to working between agencies, brands and the media, "what can go wrong is often a lack of understanding of the medium to which the communicators are addressing themselves", warns Armelle Le Goff.

"The most important thing is to know the journalists, to know who does what. Companies need to be more sophisticated in their approach to the media: personalised contacts and angles are essential," adds Armelle Le Goff, who invites brands to get in touch: "We've started the 'targeted' series to talk about cyberbullying. If a brand wanted to get involved in this subject, we could come up with some interesting ideas.

@SMCFrance #CercleDircom @armellelg advises brands to get to know the media they are targeting in order to boost engagement.  @20Minutes @SMCFrance

Nicolas Pellet presents MAD's original offering, a new 100% video-based social media: "MAD was set up at the request of Le Figaro to target a younger audience. We were convinced that the media landscape hadn't changed much in this area. News had been extremely challenged, but in terms of culture and fashion, not much had been done. Our format is 100% social, 100% video, 100% vertical. It's offbeat, second-rate and a little cynical too. When it comes to advertising, MAD stands out:

"Our business model is entirely based on co-creating content with brands. We have an advisory role, and we have created ourselves within the Social & Stories agency at Le Figaro, used to working with brands," explains Nicolas Pellet

How do you practice fact-checking?

Céline Pigalle points out that for her and for the employees of BFMTV, news verification or fact-checking is "part of the basic job".

She continues: "We multiply sources, like any journalist. It's the absolute foundation of everything, the day-to-day work. What's been added today is the fight against people who deliberately fabricate false information".

A media outlet like BFMTV has to be careful about the new infomercial formats that are being broadcast. Céline Pigalle was the first to mention the danger of "deep fakes". "I recently saw a France Insoumise video featuring Emmanuel Macron announcing his resignation - it was disturbing", she confesses. At BFMTV, it's the web team that is most often responsible for detecting what's right, what's true, in the general noise. "When Nicolas Dupont Aignan announced that we were going to sell Alsace and Lorraine, we worked to decipher the false information," says Céline Pigalle.

#CercleDircom "As well as being a journalist, you now have to detect what is true and what is false, but also unmask those who construct false content". @celinepigalle

For its part, 20 Minutes has a dedicated service. "We have created a fact-checking service, 'Fake Off', in partnership with Facebook," explains Armelle Le Goff. Since 19 March, 20 Minutes has been a partner in a new initiative: "FactCheckEu": nineteen media outlets have joined forces to check for false information relating to the European elections. Armelle Le Goff makes a point about desk journalism: "We have specialist journalists, with different time frames. The very hot, the not too hot, and the rest, but we have recreated departments".

Although Brut is an all-image, all-social medium, fact-checking is not forgotten.

"All our staff are journalists with press cards," says Roger Coste. "We use a lot of images, and it's imperative that we check the sourcing of images. It would be a disaster if we were caught red-handed with an unverified source".

The challenge of brand protection in the face of fake news and counter-influence marketing has never been greater for marketing directors.

" @brutofficiel is a complement to traditional media, not a competitor". @roger_coste #CercleDircom

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