Answering the big question: Fake News
fathom-news regularly asks industry experts opinions on interesting questions facing the maritime industry.
This week we asked: What is your understanding of the meaning of fake news? Does it exist in the maritime industry? When do you think truth thresholds are stretched?
Sam Chambers, Editorial Director at Asia Shipping Media Pte Ltd
“Fake news is as a certain Trump acolyte so well summed up ‘alternative facts’ and yes it exists in shipping every day I go out to report. “Have you bought this ship?” “No” … when of course they have. “Did you take every measure you could have done to have prevented this tragedy” “Yes” … accident reports later nearly always tend to prove otherwise. “Seafarers are our most important asset,” says an owner who then abandons them … the list goes on.”
Mark Warner, Head of Marketing Communications, Maritime, Inmarsat
“Fake news is just a story that is completely made up, but placed to look like it comes from a trusted news source. The main objective of Fake News is to gain massive attention to in order to get advertising revenue.
Putting Fake News into the maritime industry would require a ‘news source’ to seem credible and designed to maximise advertising and as the industry has good knowledge of the trusted news sites in the industry then it’s very hard to suddenly create such a source. You may see the odd Fake News story placed on a more general site covering maritime but this would be very irregular. “
Stein Kjølberg, Global Sales Director – Hull Performance Solutions, Jotun
“My understanding of fake news is news created in order to sway (or manipulate) the public or a market to a desired direction.
Does it exist in the maritime industry? Just look at how performance claims are bragged about in the industry. Fuel savings or emission savings measured in percent without referring to a benchmark, is a typical example. Without a transparent benchmark, it is only marketing mumbo jumbo, or fake news.
Finally, fake news to me is also to predominantly highlight the disasters, catastrophies or negative financial results of a market or company, instead of a much more balanced view. In general, the positives about the shipping industry are not know to the public- only becomes visible on negative terms. This is not a true perception being created.”
Craig Eason, Content Director, fathom-news
“Fake news to me is more about non-sequiturs than actually telling a lie- for example political propaganda that is picked up by new lazy news outlets and reported as fact.
In the maritime industry, I have written about the development of environmental issues for many years. In this field, I often see press releases (and increasingly these days, blogs and social media posts) from one side or another of the debate which tell only half the truth.
This is not fake news, but bias and I consider it is the journalist and reader’s responsibility to understand this. If a writer for a publication does not understand what may be missing from what they are being told, the story can become unwittingly untruthful.
Of course, sometimes if a consumer with a strong opinion disagrees with an insight or analysis article they may well claim it is fake news. It is not. It is just not biased to their tastes.”