Creating Ken Fawes

James Chandler

Ahead of IAB Engage 2017, we worked with six news brands to create a session titled The Future of News.  It was fronted by Ken Fawes – an editor-in-chief we invented to prove how easy it is to be fooled by fake news.

“Perhaps the best thing a media conference ever did with that David Walsh intro busting fake news (live on stage)” @MediaTel

“Timely, sobering and moving. Hands down one of the best talks I’ve ever been to. Thanks @DavidWalshST” @IndiraBirnie

The session took over six months to pull together and included shooting speaker videos with Ken & creating a fake Wikipedia page.  We scripted his presentation, invented some stats to make his slides look more compelling and played fast and loose with the truth around what the future holds for journalism.

As Ken reaches the most far-fetched part in his vision for the future of news, the rouse is finally up as he’s outed by a member of the audience: David Walsh, Chief Sports Writer at The Sunday Times.  David spent 13 years reporting on Lance Armstrong’s career before finally unearthing him as a drugs cheat.

David goes on to give an impassioned speech about the value of quality news before Clare Rush, Chief Revenue Officer at MailOnline closes with a plea to the 1,000+ attendees at the Barbican to Support Journalism.

We have created a short film that tells the story of how Ken Fawes was created and kept secret for eight months.  Watch our Chief Digital Officer, Tim Elkington talk about the last minute attention to detail on the day itself, Olly Lewis from News UK describe the incredible response to David Walsh’s introduction into the drama and Ryan Uhl from Mail Advertising explain how easy it was to fool 1,000 attendees on a big stage at the Barbican.


See the research here

To see photos of the event, visit our Flickr page

Written by

James Chandler


Related content

IAB UK statement on the latest reports about fake news

Learn more

IAB Engage 2017: Morning Session

Learn more

Fake News - joint research by IAB UK and IAB UK Board member news brands

Learn more

New BBC scheme will help students identify fake news

Learn more

Rediscover the joy of digital advertising

Champion connections instead of clicks. Capture audiences' imaginations, not just their attention. Boldly move to your own beat instead of letting tech set the pace. It’s time to rediscover the joy of digital.