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On Post-Truth, Fake News, and Trust

Rowe, Sylvia B. MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000224
Nutrition Communication

The evolution of health, nutrition, and other science communication in an increasingly digital environment has been well reported in recent years. More immediately, it has been suggested that the world has entered a “post-truth” era in which nutrition and other communicators face growing challenges in delivering balanced, accurate, and credible information. Public trust in and understanding of the public health/science community may be at stake. In the present article, the authors analyze the nature of the modern communication era and its evolving challenges with an eye toward identifying useful ways of delivering credible information that can compete with possible “fake news”: misinformation, disinformation, opinion masquerading as fact, and other nontruthful communications. Clearly, combating the intentional misleading of today's health, nutrition, and science information consumer will require bold and innovative strategies.

Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy pursuing communications and issues management consulting on a broad range of health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the IRC Foundation in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and is a former network correspondent with ABC News. For more than the past decade, Alexander has tracked and written about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, SR Strategy, 1100 Connecticut Ave, NW Ste 430, Washington, DC 20036-4120 (rowe@srstrategy.com).

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