Information And Disinformation In The Podcast And Beyond


Regardless of the medium we use, every single day we deal with communication, contributing as senders and recipients of information and, sometimes, disinformation.


The podcast is a very intimate media that manages to convey a lot of your personality and your way of communicating, making you perceive what are the distinctive elements of your brand.

Communication is essential to establish a relationship with the public and build the trust that brings people closer to our brand. However, it is not only based on a person's communicative style but also on the quality and value of the content transmitted.

This is why information and disinformation play a fundamental role in today's communication, including through the use of podcasts.   

There is a way to make what we say more authoritative and I want to talk to you about it together with a guest that I respect very much, both as a person and as a professional. You have invested most of your career in the importance of constructive journalism : this is Assunta Corbo.

Interview with Assunta Corbo, journalist

Assunta Corbo is a journalist, Founder of the Constructive Network in Italy and of News48, author of “Say, do… thank” and “Empatia Digitale”, an essay on the subject of online and offline communication.

You have been dealing with Constructive Journalism since 2012 and, since 2019, you are Founder of Constructive Network: the first Italian network of information professionals dedicated to constructive communication. What is constructive journalism and why is it important today to provide information in this light?

“Constructive journalism is an approach to information that deeply respects the reader: the one the journalist should always have in mind.

I see constructive journalism as a return to the profession done ethically rather than as something new. It means respecting the reader and the news, being honest even more than objective. The latter is a delicate issue because we journalists are human beings and objectivity is, at times, difficult to implement.

From the moment we choose a story, we have already made a choice based on our experiences and the values ​​we believe in. When we are passionate about a story, in my opinion, it is impossible to be objective, however we can and must be honest.

Being honest in providing information means not leaving the facts open and continuing to follow a story even when it has lost that media interest that, at the beginning, led us to tell it minute by minute. It means telling what is not working but also what is working, from a constructive point of view.

This is the journalism we badly need at this time in history, when the pandemic and the war have produced a kind of information that has weighed down people.

It's time to turn around and ask yourself Why am I a journalist? What are my principles and values? I carry on those “.

Informing and being authoritative

The theme of trust both towards those who make information and towards brands that are increasingly becoming spokesmen of messages with a high social impact, is very much felt in this historical period, especially by the new generations. Among other things, it is one of the cornerstones of the Costructive Network manifesto.

How important is the authority of those who provide information with respect to the news?

"Very, very much. Authority is built using those digital tools, such as podcasts, rather than social media.

The latter are often criticized as they certainly have nuances that need to be checked. They are, in fact, the great opportunity for those who make information, to let people know themselves and how they work, their principles and how they choose stories.

This helps to create the authority you mentioned: a person or a professional who shares, tells his community something of value.

Moreover, today we have all become a bit "journalists", in the sense that the information comes from the most disparate channels. Anyone who publishes content on social media is doing information (or disinformation) in some way compared to those who do it for a profession.

I do not think this role belongs only to journalists, but also to bloggers as they too are informants.

Those who produce structured content, such as podcasts, are making information. That's why we all need to pay attention to creating a constructive narrative , that is, how we structure our stories. "

The recipe for constructive information

In the last two years, several podcasts have been born that make information, very popular because they have established themselves as an authoritative source. Research conducted by Spotify last fall, on how the cultural landscape of young people is changing (in particular, Generation Z and Millennials) and the means by which they find out about current affairs, argues that 36% are more confident in podcasts compared to more traditional media such as radio, TV, newspapers etc. Podcasters, in fact, are able to establish a more intimate connection with their audience and, consequently, to convey greater authenticity and reliability. The speaker and the relationship with them matters more than the news itself.

What is the recipe for creating constructive information that counteracts disinformation or misinformation?

“The topic is very broad and I think this is the time when we have to go back to the concepts of utility and responsibility. When we communicate, we circulate information that we are inevitably offering people.

A message is a set of words - as I write in Digital Empathy - that we launch into the world; it is welcomed by one or thousands of people, no matter how many, but remember that there are always people on the other side.

Anyone who starts writing, producing or recording content should ask themselves if it is useful in the first place. In the age of social media we have often found ourselves talking about how good we are and how many extraordinary things we do.

In reality, these contents are not useful to the recipient. Instead, we must be useful to people by transferring a teaching, even when we tell something that clearly highlights our work and our talent.

As for disinformation, it is wrong, incorrect information that does not give people the right tools. Disinformation is misleading: it is information that takes you somewhere else, often conveyed, alas, by propaganda. We see this, for example, in the war narrative.

Polarization is another very serious phenomenon that pits people against each other despite everything being built by the media, by those who circulate information. "

What is quality information?

"It is necessary to make, a priori, a distinction between disinformation and quality information and, subsequently, ask what is the one that welcomes all the nuances and offers them to the reader, providing the elements that help him understand reality and the context .

This is the great role of responsibility that those who make information have: telling and explaining to people what happens, taking them away from the sense of helplessness in the face of gigantic problems. Provide the tools to interpret numbers, statistics and visions of the different professionals interviewed.

Quality information educates the reader, the viewer, the listener, the public and, in general, the community.

We are beginning to talk more and more about communities than about the public of newspapers and digital media. For example, if we think of local journalism, the journalist's relationship with the community is very strong: he knows their problems, faces them and helps them solve them by talking to the institutions. This phenomenon is also spreading nationally and internationally. The journalist is dealing with the community, no longer with a reader. "

Digital Empathy: communicating responsibly

Your latest book Digital Empathy expresses a very beautiful concept that I want to quote: “ the words belong to everyone, the content is personal”. It implies the responsibility that each of us has when communicating every day, on social networks, on blogs or through the podcast which, as we have seen, manages to be a powerful tool. Inevitably, what we publish is no longer ours alone but belongs to others.

What should we ask ourselves before posting content to be constructive and non-destructive?

“Certainly the concept of utility we have talked about, in addition to the very important concept of inclusion. You have to ask yourself: Could the content I'm posting hurt anyone? It is clear that we will not be able to keep everything under control, however, we can have this foresight, without falling into some stereotype.

Sooner or later, it also happens to those who write in good faith to make a slip of this type. Therefore, we acknowledge that we are posting content that could hurt someone, as it touches sensitive areas.

The concept of authenticity is another fundamental point, which I really care about.

Speaking of the communication of brands, freelancers and those who do business, we should ask ourselves How much does the content I am producing and disseminating represent me? Does it really help build the right image of me?

People have now learned to recognize authenticity. Telling failures, and mistakes is something that humanizes us a lot, leaving the logic of perfection to which social networks accustom us. We abandon the idea that we must necessarily tell only what is working.

These are, in my opinion, the principles from which to start to build good communication and a narrative built on authenticity. "


I am sure that all the information shared by Assunta Corbo, whom I thank, have given you excellent ideas and a new point of view to choose how to communicate, even through your podcast.

To deepen the subject, I recommend reading the book by Assunta Corbo, Empatia Digitale - The words belong to everyone, the content is yours published by Do it Human: a valid instruction manual to communicate constructively, online and offline.

You will have understood how important building your own communication style is. If you already have a project for your podcast in mind but don't know where to start, write me to request a personalized consultation. I will be happy to be your Podcast Coach.


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