RSA ANZ: Fake News, Alternative Facts and Truth Decay

Fellowship Event


Zoom / Online

  • Fellowship
  • Global

Join RSA Fellows in ANZ and elsewhere as we look at the growing phenomenon of fake news, and how to distinguish fact from fiction in the era of “truth decay”.

This event is open to all Fellows and will be held at:

  • 18:30 pm – 20:00 pm AEST
  • 9:30 am - 11:00 am BST
  • 17:30pm - 19:00 pm JST

Since the 2016 US election, alternative facts, fake news and highly emotive communication have become a weapon for those seeking to advance their own agenda or avoid public scrutiny.

With trust in major institutions diminishing and rising skepticism about the accuracy of media reporting, many are looking to partisan news outlets and social media echo chambers to fill the information void. Facts and data are rapidly being eclipsed by opinion and personal experience.

At this online event, we will discuss the nature of “the truth” in an information economy shaped by partisanship, polarization and cognitive bias.

Speakers Gerry McCusker, Adrian Cropley, and Peter Ellerton will explore whether the rise of fake news is an inevitable byproduct of our viral culture or if it is symptomatic of a more insidious problem: “truth decay” and the diminishing role of analysis in public life.


Gerry McCusker is a PR analyst, adviser and author of the acclaimed book, ‘PR Disasters’ (Kogan Page 2005). A former Fairfax blogger for The Age, Gerry is a regular contributor to the Australian Financial Review and Mumbrella, and a sought-after speaker on issues and crisis management plus reputation-driven PR disasters.

Adrian Cropley OAM is an expert in strategic communication and Founder of the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence. Being a past chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and an RSA fellow, he has a career spanning over 30 years, he works with a number of fortune 500 companies on strategic communication and change and is a keynote speaker and trainer. Adrian has received numerous awards, including international Gold Quill awards for communication excellence.

Peter Ellerton is a lecturer in critical thinking at the University of Queensland and the founding director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking project. His research and practice are concerned with the development of pedagogical expertise in teaching for thinking. Peter also writes widely on the public understanding of science and the characteristics of public reasoning.

Please direct any questions about this event to [email protected].

Joining instructions will be sent to attendees upon registration.

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