To highlight their push for including multiple perspectives in stories, WITF added the following to the top of some web stories: "WITF strives to provide nuanced perspectives from the most authoritative sources. We are on the lookout for biases or assumptions in our own work, and we invite you to point out any we may have missed. Contact us on our Trusting News page."
To highlight their push for including multiple perspectives in stories, WITF added the following to the top of some web stories: “WITF strives to provide nuanced perspectives from the most authoritative sources. We are on the lookout for biases or assumptions in our own work, and we invite you to point out any we may have missed. Contact us on our Trusting News page.”
While searching for a photo to depict the country of Africa, the Christian Science Monitor news team realized it did not have appropriate photos to include in the story. They decided to talk openly with their users about what they felt was a lack of photos options. In the post, they also discussed how they were going to obtain photos to better depict the country in a fair and appropriate way.
While searching for a photo to depict the country of Africa, the Christian Science Monitor news team realized it did not have appropriate photos to include in the story. They decided to talk openly with their users about what they felt was a lack of photos options. In the post, they also discussed how they were going to obtain photos to better depict the country in a fair and appropriate way.
The Jefferson City News Tribune created story pages for some of their bigger stories that provided a summary of the issue and then links to the previous stories written. In addition to a well-written summary of the issue, the news organization highlighted how "balanced and accurate reporting" was a priority for them and that creating a page like this, a one-stop shop with story links for big issues, is one way they are working to provide a full view of the issues.
The Jefferson City News Tribune created story pages for some of their bigger stories that provided a summary of the issue and then links to the previous stories written. In addition to a well-written summary of the issue, the news organization highlighted how “balanced and accurate reporting” was a priority for them and that creating a page like this, a one-stop shop with story links for big issues, is one way they are working to provide a full view of the issues.
Screenshot from WCPO's website, showing a post with the headline: "WCPO leadership makes decisions about what stories the station covers every day"
WCPO talked directly to their users about their story selection process. In a post on their website, they talked about what types of questions are involved when they make decisions about what to cover and what not to cover. Included in the note was mention of their approach to stories involving suicide and their approach to covering car accidents. The news team also shared the story on Facebook and received over 100 comments from users.
WCPO discussed their core beliefs as a news organization while updating their "about" page on their website. They told users they loved their city, discussed how they strive for accuracy and said one of their goals is to be transparent with users. The post was also shared on Facebook where it received hundreds of comments. The news organization said the post worked well and "people seemed to relate, ask questions and respond" to them.
WCPO discussed their core beliefs as a news organization while updating their “about” page on their website. They told users they loved their city, discussed how they strive for accuracy and said one of their goals is to be transparent with users. The post was also shared on Facebook where it received hundreds of comments. The news organization said the post worked well and “people seemed to relate, ask questions and respond” to them.
WCPO shared a Washington Post article about President Donald Trump on Facebook and added a note about how they choose to cover the president and politicians. They wanted to highlight how they hold people in power accountable because of how it impacts the public.
WCPO shared a Washington Post article about President Donald Trump on Facebook and added a note about how they choose to cover the president and politicians. They wanted to highlight how they hold people in power accountable because of how it impacts the public.
After a survey about low trust in media was published, the Christian Science Monitor asked their Facebook followers if they trusted the news organization. Editors said the comments received were "very constructive." They said they received much more praise than criticism and the criticism received was constructive. The news organization made sure to monitor and respond to comments and said they were surprised how enthusiastic people were about providing feedback.
After a survey about low trust in media was published, the Christian Science Monitor asked their Facebook followers if they trusted the news organization. Editors said the comments received were “very constructive.” They said they received much more praise than criticism and the criticism received was constructive. The news organization made sure to monitor and respond to comments and said they were surprised how enthusiastic people were about providing feedback.
ENID used Facebook to introduce two new columnists. They highlighted their differences in the post by saying, “both have differing opinions on a wide range of topics in news today and share them weekly, Dave on Wednesday and James on Friday.”
The Coloradoan added a note to the top of a story about allegations of sexual misconduct against a local comedian.
The Coloradoan added a note to the top of a story about allegations of sexual misconduct against a local comedian. The newspaper posted their story on the issue later than other news organizations and wanted to explain why. The note read: “To investigate this story, the Coloradoan spent the past month vetting accounts, speaking to police and interviewing all parties involved before publishing this story.” In addition, they wrote a separate editorial about their decision to wait on publishing that explained their reporting process and decision making.
After sharing some information about how they cover crime on Facebook, the Coloradoan decided to write a web story going into more detail about what their crime coverage policy is. By creating a separate page they are able to link to this when future questions up and can easily update it if their policy changes.
After sharing some information about how they cover crime on Facebook, the Coloradoan decided to write a web story going into more detail about what their crime coverage policy is. By creating a separate page they are able to link to this when future questions up and can easily update it if their policy changes.
While covering a local political story that was divisive in the community, the Jefferson City News Tribune decided to write about their approach to covering the issue. On their website they published a column explaining the news decisions they made and how they incorporated coverage from national news organizations. Their goal was to explain to users that they were making news coverage decisions with the public in mind. They said they received positive and negative feedback, with one individual saying the column motivated them to reach out to the newsroom.
While covering a local political story that was divisive in the community, the Jefferson City News Tribune decided to write about their approach to covering the issue. On their website, they published a column explaining the news decisions they made and how they incorporated coverage from national news organizations. Their goal was to explain to users that they were making news coverage decisions with the public in mind. They said they received positive and negative feedback, with one individual saying the column motivated them to reach out to the newsroom.
KCRG decided to explain to users how it was going to cover President Donald Trump's use of profanity to describe some third-world countries.
KCRG decided to explain to users how it was going to cover President Donald Trump’s use of profanity to describe some third-world countries. In the opinion piece, a news manager explains how they are going to cover the story differently than other media organizations, by focusing on the “why” and not the reactionary soundbites. This post allowed the newsroom to explain its news values and set itself apart from “the media,” a group that when lumped together can often be criticized and distrusted. KCRG also shared the post on Facebook and asked for feedback on how they chose to cover the story.
KCRG decided to explain to users how it was going to cover President Donald Trump's use of profanity to describe some third-world countries.
KCRG decided to explain to users how it was going to cover President Donald Trump’s use of profanity to describe some third-world countries. In the opinion piece, a news manager explains how they are going to cover the story differently than other media organizations, by focusing on the “why” and not the reactionary soundbites. This post allowed the newsroom to explain its news values and set itself apart from “the media,” a group that when lumped together can often be criticized and distrusted. KCRG also shared the post on Facebook and asked for feedback on how they chose to cover the story.
WCPO published a story explaining how the editorial board and process works at their news organization. The story discussed what topics they will focus editorials on and their policy when it comes to endorsing candidates.
WCPO published a story explaining how the editorial board and process works at their news organization. The story discussed what topics they will focus editorials on and their policy when it comes to endorsing candidates.
Community Impact wanted to make sure its users understood how it was approaching primary election season. In a post on their website, they stressed how they will be reaching out to all candidates in contested races and would not be endorsing candidates. They also shared which races they would be covering. This post did not inspire negative comments from users, something that is rare for a political story.
Community Impact wanted to make sure its users understood how it was approaching primary election season. In a post on their website, they stressed how they will be reaching out to all candidates in contested races and would not be endorsing candidates. They also shared which races they would be covering. This post did not inspire negative comments from users, something that is rare for a political story.
To explain how they gather information and fact-check the information they receive, the Community Impact Newspaper group wrote a story for their website. The story focused on a recent article about opioid abuse and discussed how they try to balance opinions and viewpoints published in their news content.
To explain how they gather information and fact-check the information they receive, the Community Impact Newspaper group wrote a story for their website. The story focused on a recent article about opioid abuse and discussed how they try to balance opinions and viewpoints published in their news content.
Audience members don't always understand the work that goes into a big investigative piece. WITF shined a light on a five-month projecy by discussing all of the work that went into the story: dozens of interviews, hundreds of miles traveled, tons of documents analyzed and input from several editors. In this case, the reporter was happy to share "the story behind the story," which both emphasizes the costs of serious reporting and reinforces the organization's commitment to fair, in-depth reporting.
Audience members don’t always understand the work that goes into a big investigative piece. WITF shined a light on a five-month projecy by discussing all of the work that went into the story: dozens of interviews, hundreds of miles traveled, tons of documents analyzed and input from several editors. In this case, the reporter was happy to share “the story behind the story,” which both emphasizes the costs of serious reporting and reinforces the organization’s commitment to fair, in-depth reporting.
The Jefferson City News Tribune used a pull-out box to highlight the variety of coverage and different perspectives included in their stories about an issue. The news organization addressed that the story was about an issue people have mixed feelings about. They then explained what the current article was going to highlight and focus on and then linked to stories that provided a different perspective. They also linked to opinion pieces about the topic.
The Jefferson City News Tribune used a pull-out box to highlight the variety of coverage and different perspectives included in their stories about an issue. The news organization addressed that the story was about an issue people have mixed feelings about. They then explained what the current article was going to highlight and focus on and then linked to stories that provided a different perspective. They also linked to opinion pieces about the topic.
The Jefferson City News Tribune used an editor’s note at the top of stories to show balance. The note said, “The Jefferson City community has been facing the complex topics of diversity and racism for several months, and we’ve been reporting on those discussions as they happen. Today’s story focuses on the efforts of local faith leaders to identify goals and action steps to heal racial issues they see in the community. We’ve also heard from city leaders, school district officials, teachers, concerned parents and Jefferson City Public Schools alumni. For a look at all of the voices who have contributed to this discussion, view additional coverage at newstribune.com/diversity.”
The Jefferson City News Tribune demonstrated balance while covering the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, which was marked with protests and support. Here is what their front page looked like on Jan. 21, a day protestors and supporters alike took the streets to express themselves. They emphasized the intent behind the approach when sharing the front page on Facebook.

In print, multiple perspectives on an issue can often be found on the same page or in the same section, but online, each opinion or side of the story lives separately. The Gazette linked an editorial and three letters to the editor about a local issue together by using a pull-out box. The box highlighted the fact that the news organization had different perspectives available for users and then linked to each article.
In print, multiple perspectives on an issue can often be found on the same page or in the same section, but online, each opinion or side of the story lives separately. The Gazette linked an editorial and three letters to the editor about a local issue together by using a pull-out box. The box highlighted the fact that the news organization had different perspectives available for users and then linked to each article.
In print, multiple perspectives on an issue can often be found on the same page or in the same section, but online, each opinion or side of the story lives separately. The Gazette linked an editorial and three letters to the editor about a local issue together by using a pull-out box. The box highlighted the fact that the news organization had different perspectives available for users and then linked to each article.
In print, multiple perspectives on an issue can often be found on the same page or in the same section, but online, each opinion or side of the story lives separately. The Gazette linked an editorial and three letters to the editor about a local issue together by using a pull-out box. The box highlighted the fact that the news organization had different perspectives available for users and then linked to each article.
When two opposing groups held rallies on the same day, the Jefferson City News Tribune took the opportunity to show users how they try to be balanced in their reporting. They published two articles (one about each rally) and then added a note at the top of each story linking to the story about the opposing rally. The analytics showed people were navigating to the stories from the link on the opposing story, in some cases.
When two opposing groups held rallies on the same day, the Jefferson City News Tribune took the opportunity to show users how they try to be balanced in their reporting. They published two articles (one about each rally) and then added a note at the top of each story linking to the story about the opposing rally. The analytics showed people were navigating to the stories from the link on the opposing story, in some cases.
Screenshot from communityimpact.com, reading: Editor’s note: Community Impact Newspaper has been following the paid sick leave issue since the city began gathering input for a potential citywide ordinance. Throughout Community Impact Newspaper‘s reporting, viewpoints from all sides of the issue have been expressed. Please click this link to find all previous coverage on this issue.
Balanced reporting can happen over time, but readers don’t always see the full breadth of your coverage. An editor’s note can draw attention to the wide variety of sources you’ve interviewed—and highlight your promise to keep sharing a range of perspectives.
KCRG used the viral, controversial Sinclair Broadcasting video as a jumping off point to talk about their own ownership. In the post, they remind readers of their ethics policy, and state in no uncertain terms that coverage decisions are made locally. The news organization said readers appreciated the openness.
KCRG used the viral, controversial Sinclair Broadcasting video as a jumping off point to talk about their own ownership. In the post, they remind readers of their ethics policy, and state in no uncertain terms that coverage decisions are made locally. The news organization said readers appreciated the openness.
Ask news consumers what they’re looking for in responsible journalism, and at the very top of the list will be one word: balance. (At least, it’s at the top of the list from 81 user interviews conducted by Trusting News partners. Often mentioned alongside the word balance are the words “both sides.” These are tricky concepts, of course. There are usually more than two sides. And the primary goal of journalism is not to produce a scale with two equal sides. Too often, balance is equated with equal air time or column inches, and that’s not the business we’re in. To read more from this edition click here and you can sign up for the weekly “Trust Tips” newsletter by clicking here.
USA TODAY used Facebook LIVE to bring two of their opinion editors with opposing views together to debate the president’s State of the Union speech. The also asked their users to ask questions during the live broadcast.
WCPO created a pro/con pull-out box on their website for a story to clearly show users both sides of a tax issue. By making it look different on their website they were able to drive users attention to it. The story outperformed in metrics compared to normal metrics for stories like this.
WCPO created a pro/con pull-out box on their website for a story to clearly show users both sides of a tax issue. By making it look different on their website they were able to drive users attention to it. The story outperformed in metrics compared to normal metrics for stories like this.
WCPO addiction story
WCPO highlighted their commitment to their community in a Facebook post when they shared a link to a story about heroin addiction. They focused on how this particular story is one of hope.