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The job of the media in the security ecosystem is to first get the information right, and provide stories that help security practitioners do their jobs, said Bill Brenner (@billbrenner70), Managing Editor of CSO Magazine, in conversation with Anthony M. Freed (@anthonymfreed), Community Engagement Coordinator for Tripwire, at the 2013 RSA Conference in San Francisco.

While this is Brenner’s charge, he also understands that his business lives and dies by page views and if the mainstream media succeeds by publishing shocking stories, he needs to strike a balance between education and delivering sensational security stories as well.

For example, the recent Mandiant Report was excellent in that it was a case study in what was happening in China. But the general news took the sensational side and reported it as this new clear and present danger, said Brenner.

The other major role of the press is calling out experts, analysts, and vendors on their claims or those who utilize FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) to scare people into paying attention and buying their products. While Brenner thinks the press needs to play these roles, he also realizes that FUD is sometimes useful to snap people out of complacency.

“It’s fine to me as long as what’s being put out there is rooted in truth and not some hyped up headline that isn’t based in reality,” said Brenner. “What I try to do as part of my job is be honest and when I find out that I was wrong about something to be honest about that too and hopefully that helps more people than not.”


Typewriter image courtesy of Shutterstock.