About us

Our mission

We inspire and empower journalists to evolve their practices in order to actively earn trust.

Our vision

All people should have access to — and be able to identify — journalism that works to earn their trust, is responsive to their needs and reflects their diverse priorities and values. In a world in which news consumers are confused and exhausted by information, responsible journalists should be transparent and proactive about why they are worthy of trust. 

Our approach

Trusting News inspires and empowers journalists to take responsibility for demonstrating their credibility and actively earning trust. We equip journalists to listen and engage with humility and to explain their integrity through day-to-day transparency. We use research-backed, newsroom-tested strategies to support journalists in building a better relationship with the people they aim to serve. We work in a continual cycle of research, learning and sharing to make sure the work evolves. Read about our body of research here.

Our foundational beliefs

  • Communities need access to news that reflects their diverse lives and values, and is responsive to their priorities and feedback. 
  • Listening and humility should be central to how journalists operate. 
  • It’s up to journalists to invest in telling the story of what makes their own work valuable and trustworthy.

Our staff:

Director: Joy Mayer (she/her) founded Trusting News in 2016 after a 20-year career in newsrooms and teaching. She spent 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian and also taught web design and print design. She lives in Sarasota, Florida, and can be reached at joy@TrustingNews.org or on Twitter @mayerjoy

Assistant director: Lynn Walsh (she/her) is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative journalism at the national level and locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She is the former Ethics Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and a past national president for the organization. Based in San Diego, Lynn is also an adjunct professor and freelance journalist. She can be reached at lynn@TrustingNews.org and on Twitter @lwalsh.

Project manager: Mollie Muchna (she/her) has spent the last 10 years working in audience and engagement journalism in local newsrooms across the Southwest. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism. She can be reached at mollie@trustingnews.org and on Twitter @molliemuchna

Our collaborators:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

We are committed to contributing to a news ecosystem that understands, respects and reflects the complexity of the people journalists aim to serve. People have a right to information that tells fair and accurate stories about their lived experiences and values and helps them understand their neighbors, their communities and the larger world. Diversity — of experience, thought and values — is an important strength of communities and of newsrooms.

We work with news organizations we believe are mission-driven and willing to evolve. We are especially eager to dedicate time to leaders and newsrooms that are rooted in humility, dedicated to deep listening and committed to tell stories with and for communities that do not feel well served by news.

We are continually aware of the ways our own small team is the same as or different from each other — our Dimensions of Difference — and we rely on both formal collaborators and informal advisers to widen our lens and complicate our understanding of what the news industry and the public need.

Dimensions of Difference

We address issues of diversity and newsroom culture with our Dimensions of Difference guide, which supports newsrooms in identifying, understanding and talking about their own differences internally.

For help with how you can do this work in your newsroom, reach out to our team.


About the organization

In May 2024, Trusting News became an independent organization and is pursuing tax-exempt status. 

Our fiscal sponsor for the project is Journalism Funding Partners, which supports partnerships between funders and local newsrooms. 

Board of directions: An inaugural board of directors has formed. Joining staff members Joy Mayer and Lynn Walsh on the initial board will be Andrew DeVigal, director of the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon, Reuben Stern, director of the Missouri School of Journalism’s New York program, and Richard T. Griffiths, retired head of CNN’s editorial quality control team. This initial board will lay the groundwork for the organization and for a more robust board in 2025.

Our funders

Our funders back either general operations or specific projects. In either case, they do not have authoritative oversight or review of our work. They are supportive of our priorities but do not tell us what actions to take, which newsrooms to work with or what recommendations to offer the industry.

Long-time partner organizations:

Two organizations have been longtime supporters of Trusting News, and through 2024, contribute almost 20% of our funding. 

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) works with the news industry, professors, students and others to make sure journalism has a long and bright future. As a “think-and-do” tank that opened its doors in 2008, RJI uses its guaranteed funding to work exclusively to strengthen journalism in the service of democracy. It’s part of the Missouri School of Journalism.

Trusting News was incubated as a project of RJI in 2016, and their support made it possible for a part-time research project to grow into an actual program. They served as our fiscal host through 2018 and will continue to support us through 2024.

The American Press Institute (API) supports local and community-based media through research, programs and products that foster healthy, responsive and resilient news organizations. It is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance.

Trusting News was fiscally sponsored at API from 2019-2024. We regularly collaborated with their staff and benefited from the team’s thought leadership and support. 

Other current and past funders:

Like many journalism support organizations, most of our annual budget comes through philanthropy. If you would like to fund this project, or have ideas about who is investing in the ability of newsrooms to take ownership over the crisis of trust — in service of healthy communities and democracy — please let us know. Email founder and director Joy Mayer at joy@TrustingNews.org.

Trusting News work in the news

Here’s a look at how our work has been featured in other publications. Read more about our impact and what journalists have to say about our work here