How COVID-19 has brought back the public’s appetite for facts

When will audiences tune out from sheer exhaustion? Here’s how one PR pro sees the journey for media coverage of the historic pandemic.

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I’ve been a media relations strategist for 15 years and now helping healthcare brands tell their stories in a world that’s been turned on its axis. But, in an abnormal COVID-19 environment, something extraordinary has occurred: A rejuvenated appetite for the facts.

I graduated with a B.S. in Journalism in 1999. The threat of “Y2K” was on the horizon, 9/11 hadn’t happened and we didn’t have smart phones. We barely had internet. Americans valued news and fact-based reporting; the Twitterverse had yet to take hold.

I was proud to be working in the news business. I was telling real stories that mattered. However, when I left news for a career in public relations, the lines of journalism and entertainment were starting to blur. More media platforms were appearing on the scene and you couldn’t consume content fast enough. The emergence of the digital age coined “click bait” and the business of entertainment was becoming a priority for the C-suite at some news organizations. Hard news was becoming less popular and people began to gravitate towards editorialized programming, so they could read and watch content that aligned with their own personal values and beliefs.

Fast forward to 2020, and the current media landscape.

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