The events team at IAB UK were recently honoured at the Conference Awards 2018 with a Bronze award for the ‘Ken Fawes’ stunt delivered at the annual Engage conference in 2017.
Created in collaboration with the IAB’s Newsbrands members to highlight the vital importance of quality journalism, the ruse saw controversial editor, ‘Ken Fawes’ from the ‘Cincinnati Sentinel’ present on the main stage at the Barbican to the 1,100+ Engage attendees.
During the presentation, which was clearly making many in the audience feel uncomfortable, the “journalist” claimed he was able to create AI driven news stories without the need for any journalists and even proudly declared his influence over the US Presidential Election result.
Thankfully, Ken Fawes – an anagram of Fake News – was soon exposed as a fraud by the esteemed journalist, David Walsh, Chief Sports Writer at The Sunday Times, who took to the stage to defend quality journalism.
Having spent over 13 years following the Lance Armstrong doping story, David went on to tell a very personal story that made it abundantly clear why investigative journalism is as essential in today’s society as it has always been.
The IAB thank ESI Media, The Guardian, Mail Advertising, News UK, The Telegraph and Trinity Mirror Solutions who were instrumental in pulling off this stunt – and for keeping it such a tight secret. In giving the award, the judges praised this group’s ability to communicate this issue with such an original execution:
“A very innovative way of getting a message and a hot topic across to a large audience. This clearly took significant planning and collaboration to get the desired outcome.”
“What a great idea and a genius way to highlight such a common problem within the industry. It was brave, very well planned and the effect was hard hitting. The results were amazing!”
You can learn more about how and why the IAB created Ken Fawes here.
Watch the full Ken Fawes/David Walsh presentation here.