‘You’re fired!’

I never thought I’d be using Donald Trump as a means to promote traditional media marketing, but there’s an important message here. Every time I see The Donald, I think about those two little words: You’re fired!

“You’re fired” separates legitimate journalism and legitimate reporters from those with the attitude of “I’m-on-the-street-and-I’ve-got-a-cell-phone-so-I’m-a-reporter-now.”

So, what am I talking about?

When a marketing director, publicist or business owner is trying to get media or social media coverage for their business or client, they have a choice to make in terms of where they spend their time. The pull to get into online “news” sources or post a guest blog is tempting, especially if stats show high monthly page views.

But often what’s drawing those page views are fake stories, hoaxes and just bad journalism.

Think about Newslo.com, which published the fake headline, “Chris Christie: Women’s Viagra Pill Will Only Increase Lesbianism.” Or what about “Dave Chappelle, Dead At 41,” from NewsBuzzDaily.

The tripe has gotten so out of hand, Snopes, the web’s No. 1 debunking site, now has a list of “news” sites to stay away from. Even those with legitimate sounding names, like “National Report” or “World Daily Report”, are ones whose reputations are going down the toilet.

Sometimes there’s a small disclaimer, stating that the site is for “entertainment purposes only.” But the damage is done anyway.

So the question has to be asked, what will actually be a more believable source of coverage?

Here’s one way to tell: A credible journalist who is working for a valid news source – a TV station, a newspaper (whether online or offline) or radio station with a proven reputation – is obligated to get it right. If they don’t, they hear those two little words: “You’re fired!”

Bloggers will never fire themselves, even if they get the information wrong over and over again. Sketchy “news” sites that pay writers at 10 cents/word will rarely fire writers because it will cost too much to get legitimate reporters to replace them.

So when you look at your marketing strategy, you have to ask yourself if you can take the risk of having your brand damaged by non-reputable sites or by self-titled “reporters” who have never gone to journalism school and don’t have the integrity your publicity needs.

Do you want your product or service to be taken seriously? Or do you want to be used as the butt of an online joke?

In the end, traditional media still stands as a source of information that readers, viewers and listeners can trust.

Baila Lazarus

Media Expert

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