PR Future, the USC Center for Public Relations Podcast

Combating Media Bias with Vanessa Otero of Ad Fontes Media

Episode Summary

CEO and Founder of Ad Fontes Media Vanessa Otero discusses the origins and growth of the Media Bias Chart, and the polarized media landscape we find ourselves in today. Otero offers advice to public relations professionals and news consumers on navigating today’s landscape and cultivating a healthy “news diet.”

Episode Notes

In 2016, patent attorney Vanessa Otero posted a chart on the web. It was a simple graphic, rating the bias of news sources. And it went absolutely viral. This chart was the first of many iterations of the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart, a map that helps news consumers, educators and communications pros navigate the complexities of today’s media landscape. While the chart began as Otero’s own content analysis work, today, it is created by a team of professional analysts who are politically balanced, and who review media sources every day. Despite the state of today’s polarized media landscape, Otero remains an optimist. She believes that we can all learn how to safely navigate our current media environment and reduce polarization — as long as we take purposeful steps to become more media literate. Brands, Otero says, have an undeniable role to play in increasing media literacy, and the Media Bias Chart and other tools can help.

In this episode, Vanessa and Fred discuss ways that communications professionals can combat polarization and how the current media landscape influences our profession. Vanessa also provides tips on how we can all cultivate a healthier “news diet,” filled with unbiased facts. 

For more on these topics, check out the playback of the 31st Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium at and the playback of the Relevance Report 2021 Discussion at


Vanessa Otero (@vlotero), CEO and Founder of Ad Fontes Media



Fred Cook (@fredcook), Chairman Emeritus of Golin, a global PR firm. Author of “Improvise - Unorthodox Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO” and Director of the USC Center for Public Relations


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