About us

Trusting News: A project of RJI and API


Trusting News aims to demystify trust in news and empower journalists to take responsibility for actively demonstrating credibility and earning trust. We believe a more informed electorate that knows where to turn for quality information is key to democracy. 

Newsrooms need to understand the causes of user distrust, take ownership of the problem and be empowered to prioritize earning trust in their everyday work. Any newsroom — across platforms, ownership structures and topics — that stands behind its mission and ethics should make optimizing trust part of its job. That includes:

• Committing to standards of transparency and ethics.

• Dedicating staff time to understanding distrust.

• Explaining their purpose, their decision-making and their process alongside their journalism.

• Using every available medium and method of communication to demonstrate credibility and actively invite and respond to audience feedback and questions.

Our Staff:

Director: Joy Mayer 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. In addition to Trusting News work, she is an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute. She can be reached at joy@TrustingNews.org.

Assistant director: Lynn Walsh 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 current 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.

Project assistant: Mollie Muchna is an award-winning journalist who has worked in digital journalism at local newsrooms in Colorado and Arizona. She is also the online editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Arizona, where she oversees the newsroom’s community engagement and digital strategies. She can be reached at mollie@trustingnews.org.

Additional Trust Coaches:

Laura E. Davis is an assistant professor of professional practice and the digital news director of the USC Annenberg Media Center. She has worked as a reporter at The Associated Press, a homepage, social media and politics editor at Yahoo News, the deputy mobile editor at the Los Angeles Times and a mobile editor at BuzzFeed, where she helped develop and launch the award-winning BuzzFeed News app.

Tim Lambert is the multimedia news director and Morning Edition host at WITF – a public media organization in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He also serves as co-editor of PA Post – a statewide, digital first, news organization. Lambert has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years and is a five-time recipient of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism.  He also lead his organization’s participation in the Trusting News project. Tim is a graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Erica Smith oversees digital, sports and features departments for The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, as well as two news operations in North Carolina. She previously worked for print, radio and digital news organizations in Indiana, Washington and Missouri. Erica collects typewriters, loves spreadsheets and eats M&Ms in Roy G Biv order.

Our Partner Organizations:

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.

The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. It is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance.