Media impact: how fake news affects corporate reputation

The ways in which media impact reputation has changed in recent years, and the power of these effects on a company’s reputation can be unprecedented. Hot topics such as investigative journalism, the aggression of mainstream media, stakeholder-driven media and fake news – in particular how companies should deal with this – will be explored in a three-day masterclass as Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The Media Impact on Reputation programme, will take place in Rotterdam on 20-22 February 2018.

In the masterclass, organised by RSM’s Corporate Communication Centre, participants will discuss these phenomena from the standpoint of best practices, while keeping in sight an underlying transformation of the communications function, from service to strategic.

Firms have a multitude of channels to communicate directly with stakeholders, yet few are using them well.

Stakeholder-driven media

“The media have undergone a massive change in the past decade, and those changes powerfully impact organisational reputations,” says Dr Mark Lee Hunter, who leads the three-day programme with Professor Joep Cornelissen. He adds that mainstream media remain an important player, but they have new competitors - social media, stakeholder groups that create their own news networks, and ‘fake news factories’.

“In parallel, investigative journalism, given up for dead a decade ago, has instead renewed itself and expanded. The impact of these trends on reputations is visible and widening. This is the first programme we know of that takes those changes into account,” Dr Hunter said.

Crisis situations

Participants of Media Impact on Reputation will gain a deeper understanding of the new vectors of influence and reputation. Their toolbox will be deeper and wider, not least where crisis situations are concerned. They will learn about the objectives, strategies and methods of other players. Ultimately, they will be better equipped to advise their management in specific cases as well as from a broader, strategic perspective.

Dr Mark Lee Hunter has extensive experience in investigative journalism, and has researched stakeholder-driven media. He says social media is a vector of positive co-operation between firms and their customers, and about fake news he says: “I’d rather live in a world where liars don't profit, but in the meanwhile my job is to figure out how to deal with them. Pulling all of these different vectors together for the masterclass, and bringing together people who are making the changes, is an incredible experience.”

Three-day masterclass

The course will be taught in an interactive manner through interactive group discussions, guest lectures, cases and workshops. This combination of lectures ensures that participants learn through the best possible mix of academic rigor and research-based insights and practical relevance.

Media Impact on Reputation will take place on RSM’s campus in Rotterdam on 20-22 February 2018. It is part of RSM’s Part-time Executive International MSc in Corporate Communication, but can also be followed as a standalone programme.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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