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AfroLA, a startup in Los Angeles, recently published a new “About Us” page that succinctly and effectively shares the news organization’s goals and mission — and importantly, also how their coverage will be different.
As Joy wrote about in Trust Tips a few weeks ago, many people aren’t seeing the distinct value local news outlets offer. That’s why it’s so important journalists get on the record about what makes their coverage unique and important to their audience.
Here’s a closer look at how AfroLA did this. (Trusting News provided input to the AfroLA team as they worked on this page. Do you want similar feedback for something? Reach out to us: info@TrustingNews.org.)
Here’s what AfroLA included
At the top of the About page, there is a section titled “What sets AfroLA apart.” It dives into the approach and mission of their coverage.
In this section, they get really clear about their coverage goals and explain how they aim to cover the Black community in LA differently than other news organizations. They also use a quick bullet point list to share what kind of news you can expect to see from them (and what news you WON’T see from them).
Explaining what stories you expect to cover helps users understand what to expect and what not to. This can prevent them from making assumptions (which, remember, are most likely to be negative) about why they are seeing some stories covered and not others.
Throughout the entire page, they point to their mission of providing community-centric coverage. They explain this means their reporting will happen alongside the community, by gathering input and including a variety of community content collaborators. They also share how providing value to the community is their main measure of impact.
Here are other great aspects of their “About Us” page:
- It’s transparent. Throughout the entire page, AfroLA demonstrates a lot of transparency about its reporting processes. Some ways they do this is by publicly listing all of their sources of revenue and naming newsroom affiliations.
- It’s user-friendly. In both the language they use (they avoid using journalism jargon) and the way it’s formatted (bullet points with a linked table of contents at the top) the page is user-friendly and easy to navigate. This makes it quick for people to digest, and also easy for staffers to link back to specific parts when needed.
Ready to share what sets your coverage apart? Use this checklist
- If you’re building or revamping your “About Us” page, we have a handy checklist that walks you through each step of the process.
- If you’re looking for even more guidance and examples of how newsrooms are doing this, check out this Medium post by Lynn.
Remember to share it often!
Once the page is finished link back to it from the stories you publish. (The average person isn’t searching your website to find your About page!)
This allows people to find answers to any questions they may have about the reporting process within the coverage itself. This is a good best practice because people will be the most curious about how the journalistic process works while they are consuming your news content.
Have any examples?
At Trusting News, we learn how people decide what news to trust and turn that knowledge into actionable strategies for journalists. We train and empower journalists to take responsibility for demonstrating credibility and actively earning trust through transparency and engagement. We’re co-hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute and the American Press Institute. Subscribe to our Trust Tips newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Read more about our work at TrustingNews.org.
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 email@example.com and on Twitter @molliemuchna.