Partners in trust: media credibility is great news for brands

27 May 2022

EDITORS - Adriaan Basson (News24), Henriette Loubser (Netwerk24) and Mondli Makhanya (City Press)

Tasmia Ismail, General Manager, Adspace24. Justin Langeveld, General Manager, Media24 Afrikaans and English News. Jerusha Raath, Head of Adspace24 Studio.

What do editors, a futurist and business leaders all have in common? A firm belief in the importance of trusted news sources in an increasingly fractious information age.

This was clear at Adspace24’s We Have Great News event, live streamed from Cape Town on May 5 2022, when Media24 news business leaders Tasmia Ismail (General Manager: Adspace24), Justin Langeveld (General Manager: Afrikaans and English news) and Jerusha Raath (Head of Adspace Studio) were joined by Flux Trends partner and Futurist Bronwyn Williams and Media24 editors Henriette Loubser, Adriaan Basson and Mondli Makhanya for a conversation around trust in news.

2022 is set to be a busy news year: the ANC’s National Conference takes place in December, the war in Ukraine is ongoing and Covid, Eskom and the weather continue to upset the best-laid of plans. And all the while, the dissemination of information – along with mis-information 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”.

Now more than ever, trust is a valued commodity. Globally, people are more aware of the value of reliable news sources, which inform everything from their purchase decisions to electoral choices.

Great news indeed, then, for Media24, all of whose brands have scored highly in this regard over the past year: News24 was named the Reuters Institute’s most trusted news brand for a 3rd consecutive year , while Adspace24’s internal research platform, Forum24, found that readers’ trust in Media24 News brands is high across all titles, with News24 scoring 83%, Netwerk24, 90%, and Sunday printed titles Rapport and City Press, 90% (to highlight but a few).

This credibility benefits client brands seeking to communicate their purpose to a targeted audience within a brand-safe environment – to great effect.

Accountability – on the scene and in the newsroom

Editors-in-chief Adriaan Basson (News24), Henriette Loubser (Netwerk24) and Mondli Makhanya (City Press) all emphasise that this trust is built in a number of ways. Firstly, brave and experienced journalists are sent to cover events first-hand and what they return to the newsroom is fact checked and carefully evaluated – earning reader’s trust.

As Makhanya notes, “For people to pay for that content, you have to be trustworthy: news has to be accurate, it has to be fair and our journalists have to be ethical.” A lapse here can undermine the credibility – and thus the viability – of a news brand. News platforms remain society’s watchdogs and at the same time delight and entertain diverse audiences.

This is in stark contrast to social media “news”, where word of mouth passes from an unverified source, with no oversight or accountability.

For advertisers in search of a brand-safe environment in which to communicate with their desired audience, credibility is crucial. “Adspace24 can harness that journalistic quality and credibility for brands, with the same quality and integrity, to develop trusted content that tells a story – it’s emotive, engaging and true,” says Jerusha Raath, Head of Adspace24 Studio.

Beyond harsh facts

Along with reliable reporting, News24 and Netwerk24 has responded to its 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 Justin Langeveld, General Manager for Media24: Afrikaans and English News.

Enter the storyteller: the role of content marketing

The combination of trust and varied platforms enables Adpsace24 to partner with brands to get their message across with impact: Enter content marketing. This is one of the fastest growing segments in advertising, with good reason – it allows brands to communicate their vision, values and purpose, and thereby to connect meaningfully with their audience.

This is increasingly important. 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.”

“We’re able to service customers with integrated multi-platform offerings, threading customers’ messages through very brand-safe, trustworthy platforms,” says Tasmia Ismail, General Manager for Adspace24.

To watch highlights from our “We have Great News” Webinar held on 5 May, please click on the link below.