Should Cyber News Elicit Fear?

Discussion Topic for Week 4 (of 8)
How does FUD undermine reporting quality and erode audience trust?

Claudiu’s Observation: From mention of 'scary' cyber incidents to 'atrocity propaganda', it would be easy to conclude that FUD has replaced sensible headlines and a measured discourse about important matters. When fear, uncertainty and doubt are used in discussing breaches, it reduces the content to the level of clickbait, disincentivizes further reading and erodes reader trust in the publishing effort. 

Aside from Hallowe'en, there is little reason to compose what amounts to desperate pleas for clicks, eyeballs and site views, with emotionally laden headlines such as:

Instead of forcing an emotional response from the reader, what should authors focus on in those precious few characters that limit the length of a headline? Should emotion be set aside in exchange for a dry statement of fact? Perhaps. But why not take what may be the only opportunity to educate the audience and make a simple announcement about WHAT allowed the breach, WHY it occurred and HOW it may impact the audience? 

When interviewing certified professionals with relevant expertise, always ask:

1. What recognizable brand or service was affected?
2. Why did it happen? Was it an email or a virus?
3. How many people are impacted?

It all requires a bit of critical thinking and professional integrity to produce a useful, insightful and ultimately engaging piece of informative journalism that educates, engages and informs. Contact Claudiu to discuss your article ideas and positioning of the subject matter to create a piece that is not just timely and relevant but is also resistant to becoming stale a few days after being published.


For professional analysis and media soundbites by a certified security and privacy expert with 35 years of experience, click here to request an interview with Claudiu Popa, author of the Canadian Cyberfraud Handbook, CEO of Datarisk Canada, President of Managed Privacy Canada and co-founder of the KnowledgeFlow Cybersafety Foundation, Canada's only non-profit dedicated to bringing digital literacy to vulnerable sector audiences via accredited data protection professionals.

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