Globally, people are more aware of the value of reliable news sources, which inform everything from their purchase decisions to electoral choices.
The dissemination of information – along with misinformation and outright lies – via social media continues to increase exponentially, sowing confusion and chaos. No surprise then that the 2022 Edelman Barometer notes that “the world is in a moment of distrust”.
What its means to be a trusted media source was the topic of conversation at the Adsapce24’s We have great news event.
Live streamed from Cape Town earlier this month, the event was addressed by Media24 news business leaders including Tasmia Ismail - general manager: Adspace24, Justin Langeveld - general manager: Afrikaans and English news and Jerusha Raath, head of Adspace Studio) as well as Flux Trends partner and Futurist Bronwyn Williams.
Media24 editors Henriette Loubser, Adriaan Basson and Mondli Makhanya were also part of the conversation.
They emphasised that trust in a media source is built in a number of ways starting with experienced journalists who cover events first-hand.
Then their coverage has to be fact-checked and carefully evaluated.
“For people to pay for that content, you have to be trustworthy meaning that news has to be accurate and fair and your journalists ethical,” says Makhanya.
A lapse here can undermine the credibility – and thus the viability – of a news brand.
This is in stark contrast to social media “news”, where word of mouth passes from an unverified source, with no oversight or accountability.
While news platforms remain society’s watchdogs, at the same time they have to delight and entertain diverse audiences.
Along with reliable reporting, News24 and Netwerk24 have responded to their audiences’ need for community and entertainment by offering everything from award-winning podcasts, webinars and masterclasses, to soapies featuring some of SA’s best-loved talent. These are rapidly growing in popularity.
“What we’re building is an integrated business that pushes a content strategy underpinned by trusted and quality journalism for our loyal readers,” says Langeveld.
Content marketing is one of the fastest-growing segments in advertising, with good reason – it allows brands to communicate their vision, values and purpose, and thereby connect meaningfully with their audience.
Research from McKinsey shows that Gen Z respondents are overwhelmingly more willing to spend on brands with a purpose.
“As a brand, you need to show that you have a vision and a mission consistent with the values that Gen Z holds true – the climate, social justice issues,” says Raath. “The best way to communicate that is through content because we’re able to tell those stories.”