The Gazette used Twitter to remind users of its mission. While sharing a link to a story about opioid abuse, the news team explained why they covered the topic from a particular angle and reminded users part of their mission is to "look for solutions facing Iowa."
The Gazette used Twitter to remind users of its mission. While sharing a link to a story about opioid abuse, the news team explained why they covered the topic from a particular angle and reminded users part of their mission is to “look for solutions facing Iowa.”
Screenshot from KCRG's Facebook page, where the station asked viewers to share whether or not they trust KCRG.
Have you ever asked your users if they trust you? This is a simple way to get feedback and something KCRG tried on Facebook and on their website. When posing the question on Facebook, journalists took time to answer the questions. Their users were polite for the most part and more importantly appreciated responses, even though some of their questions were difficult.
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.
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.
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.
Many news organizations host booths at festivals, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff went a step further.
Many news organizations host booths at festivals, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff went a step further. On top of showing up at a popular community event and interacting with the public, they decided to also help register people to vote. By being present in the community they allowed people to see them as real people and get to know them better. When people meet journalists and get to know them it can help build trust for the individual journalist, but also the news organization and the journalism industry as a whole.
Many news organizations host booths at festivals, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff went a step further.
Many news organizations host booths at festivals, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff went a step further. On top of showing up at a popular community event and interacting with the public, they decided to also help register people to vote. By being present in the community they allowed people to see them as real people and get to know them better. When people meet journalists and get to know them it can help build trust for the individual journalist, but also the news organization and the journalism industry as a whole.
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News consumers do not always give journalists credit for having a public service mission. You can encourage sharing and reinforce your mission by emphasizing how your news is in the public interest. 
Screenshot from The Christian Science Monitor's Facebook page, explaining why the organization was implementing a paywall and inviting comments.
When instituting a paywall or changing what users will be able to access for free, it’s important to be upfront, honest and respond to criticism. That’s exactly what the Christian Science Monitor did when they limited the number of articles non-subscribers could read for free on their website. In their post, they talked about why this was happening and the emphasized the value of their reporting. Most importantly, they took time to respond to comments and questions from users. After this announcement, the news organization reported an increase in subscriptions.
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.
The Coloradoan posted an article on their website explaining why they waited to report on sexual misconduct allegations against a local comedian.
The Coloradoan posted an article on their website explaining why they waited to report on sexual misconduct allegations against a local comedian. To explain why their reporting came later, while other news organizations published it sooner, the article discussed their reporting process to verify the information and the ethical considerations they had to make along the way. When they shared the article on Facebook there was one critical commenter who apologized for earlier comments made after reading the reporting explanation.
The Coloradoan posted an article on their website explaining why they waited to report on sexual misconduct allegations against a local comedian.
The Coloradoan posted an article on their website explaining why they waited to report on sexual misconduct allegations against a local comedian. To explain why their reporting came later, while other news organizations published it sooner, the article discussed their reporting process to verify the information and the ethical considerations they had to make along the way. When they shared the article on Facebook there was one critical commenter who apologized for earlier comments made after reading the reporting explanation.
Screenshot from a Facebook LIVE Q&A with KCRG's news director.
Bring yourself to your audience. That’s what KCRG did when they went live on Facebook to talk about their newsroom values and journalism processes. Some things people wanted to know included how they choose which stories to cover and how they manage social media posts. News managers were involved in the video too. The video received more than 8 thousand views.
The Day discussed their ownership structure by posting to their Facebook page. They used recent grants given out by the news organization's foundation as a way to highlight their company structure and explain their commitment to the community.
The Day discussed their ownership structure by posting to their Facebook page. They used recent grants given out by the news organization’s foundation as a way to highlight their company structure and explain their commitment to the community.

Remind your community about your mission and purpose. Tell them you work on behalf of the public. Use specific language and strong words, like watchdog and investigation, rather than hoping those concepts are clear.

Shares are often highest when information is seen as being in the public interest. Also, try suggesting specific types of friends users might want to share with, in terms of demographics, interests, opinions, etc.
This post got 3,500+ shares. Shares are often highest when information is seen as being in the public interest. (Also, try suggesting specific types of friends users might want to share with, in terms of demographics, interests, opinions, etc.) News consumers do not always give journalists credit for having a public service mission. The trust-building language turned this story from a simple day turn about a food recall into public service information that was helping keep the community healthy and safe. 
The Jefferson City News Tribune wrote about an award their news team won and shared the post on Facebook. "When Jefferson City wins, so do we," it read. The post then discussed one of the stories the news organization won an award for which was a photograph of a local baseball team's victory. The newspaper also congratulated the journalists and recognized the baseball team in the post.
The Jefferson City News Tribune wrote about an award their news team won and shared the post on Facebook. “When Jefferson City wins, so do we,” it read. The post then discussed one of the stories the news organization won an award for which was a photograph of a local baseball team’s victory. The newspaper also congratulated the journalists and recognized the baseball team in the post.
The Jefferson City News Tribune wrote about an award their news team won and shared the post on Twitter. "When Jefferson City wins, so do we," it read. The post then discussed one of the stories the news organization won an award for which was a photograph of a local baseball team's victory. The newspaper also congratulated the journalists and recognized the baseball team in the post.
The Jefferson City News Tribune wrote about an award their news team won and shared the post on Twitter. “When Jefferson City wins, so do we,” it read. The post then discussed one of the stories the news organization won an award for which was a photograph of a local baseball team’s victory. The newspaper also congratulated the journalists and recognized the baseball team in the post.
Screenshot from tennessean.com, showing an invitation for more veterans to share their perspectives with the newspaper.
The staff at the Tennessean set up a “Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.” The group worked on identifying people in the community they wanted to hear more from and then invited them into their newsroom. Those groups included veterans, Muslims and gun owners. A common theme came out of these visits: people wanted to be included in responsible and accurate coverage. For the Tennessean these visits resulted in more sources for stories and more people submitting letters to the editor.
Screenshot from The Christian Science Monitor's Facebook page, explaining why a frequent commenter was banned.
The Christian Science Monitor used the negative behavior of a frequent Facebook group commenter as an opportunity to reinforce the values of the group and the news organization. They also asked the community to help them maintain civil dialogue and asked group members what they wanted to get out of the group. The responses validated the value of their Facebook group for the newsroom and also reminded the journalists that sometimes Facebook users need to be reminded about community rules and guidelines.

Newsy Trump coverage

Look for chances to tie individual coverage to your organization’s mission. In this case, Newsy didn’t just share a fact check. They used the words “fact check” to make sure the point came across, and they reinforced their core principles.

The Jefferson City News Tribune remembered a city employee who died by posting about her death on their Facebook page. The news organization found it was an easy way to highlight previous coverage featuring this individual and show their local ties to the community.
The Jefferson City News Tribune remembered a city employee who died by posting about her death on their Facebook page. The news organization found it was an easy way to highlight previous coverage featuring this individual and show their local ties to the community.
WUSA took time to highlight their coverage of stop and frisk laws in Washington, D.C. in their on-air broadcast. In highlighting their work, they also asked people to contact them if they have been stopped and frisked and then reminded their users: "our reporting is only as strong as the community we're honored to serve."
WUSA took time to highlight their coverage of stop and frisk laws in Washington, D.C. in their on-air broadcast. In highlighting their work, they also asked people to contact them if they have been stopped and frisked and then reminded their users: “our reporting is only as strong as the community we’re honored to serve.”
A journalist at the Community Impact newspaper group used Twitter to talk about the news organization's mission and explain journalism. The journalist used a personal account to share the information in a Twitter thread. He discussed how they work to be accurate in their reporting and offered to answer any questions people have about the news organization's coverage or journalism in general.
A journalist at the Community Impact newspaper group used Twitter to talk about the news organization’s mission and explain journalism. The journalist used a personal account to share the information in a Twitter thread. He discussed how they work to be accurate in their reporting and offered to answer any questions people have about the news organization’s coverage or journalism in general.
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter's background that put her thoughts in context.
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter’s background that put her thoughts in context.
WITF discussed their participation in the Trusting News project in a post on their website. They also shared the post on Facebook and asked for feedback. Overall, WITF journalists said comments were positive.
WITF discussed their participation in the Trusting News project in a post on their website. They also shared the post on Facebook and asked for feedback. Overall, WITF journalists said comments were positive.
In an on-air story, WUSA added language to highlight their committment to following-up on stories. They discussed how following up on important stories is a priority and part of responsible journalism. Adding the language was easy to do and felt right, according to the news organization.
In an on-air story, WUSA added language to highlight their commitment to following-up on stories. They discussed how following up on important stories is a priority and part of responsible journalism. Adding the language was easy to do and felt right, according to the news organization.
To define their mission as a news organization the Christian Science Monitor wrote an editorial to their readers. They discussed how their focus is to move off the left-right political axis and focus their reporting on the ideas behind the news. They said some readers get this, some seem "too deep" in the polarized world and others point to ways the news organization can do this better. In addition to the editorial, they also asked for feedback on social media.
To define their mission as a news organization the Christian Science Monitor wrote an editorial to their readers. They discussed how their focus is to move off the left-right political axis and focus their reporting on the ideas behind the news. They said some readers get this, some seem “too deep” in the polarized world and others point to ways the news organization can do this better. In addition to the editorial, they also asked for feedback on social media.
Screenshot from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Facebook page, where a video was shared highlighting the paper's community coverage.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram created a video highlighting community coverage. The video includes clips from local high school football games, a popular festival and local government coverage. It was an easy way to remind users that their journalists are part of the community they serve and the newsroom works to cover the many neighborhoods in their region.
The Jefferson City News Tribune decided to tackle "fake news" rhetoric head-on. They published a simple message on Facebook: "We hate fake news, too." In the post, they also linked to their "about us" page on their website and asked for feedback using a Google Form.
The Jefferson City News Tribune decided to tackle “fake news” rhetoric head-on. They published a simple message on Facebook: “We hate fake news, too.” In the post, they also linked to their “about us” page on their website and asked for feedback using a Google Form.
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.
Newsrooms get a lot of complaints about covering too much “bad news.” Too much conflict, violence, argument and devastation. In short, too many problems. Some of that comes with the territory, of course. Shining a light on a community’s challenges is a key function of journalism. But often, we try to aggressively report not just on problems but also on the people and projects working to solve them. We highlight what’s working, not just what’s broken. And when we do that, we need to clearly point it out. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Lately, I’ve been talking to some newsrooms about creating ethics landing pages for their websites. What is an ethics landing page? It’s a place where a news organization discusses it’s ethics policies and how it makes news decisions. These pages may look different newsroom to newsroom, but the reason they exist is to provide a one-stop-shop for users to understand why one story is covered and another isn’t, how fact-checking works, why one image is included in a story over another, etc. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Whether it’s the TV affiliation your station has or your corporate owner based on the other side of the country, talking about and being transparent about who owns your news organization can be an important part of earning the trust of your users. For many reporters and possibly even editors, the impact of who owns the paper, website, or TV or radio station may not be felt on a daily basis. But do you tell your users that? To read more from this edition click here and you can sign up for the weekly “Trust Tips” newsletter by clicking here.
Annenberg Media updated their "about" section on their YouTube channel
Annenberg Media updated their “about” section on their YouTube channel to explain a new series they were launching called “Full Disclosure.” They told users, “We want you to trust us. We’re pulling back the curtain on the decisions that go into reporting and publishing stories at Annenberg Media…” The description provides clarity for the user while the newsroom capitalizes on a simple branding opportunity offered by the social platform.
Annenberg Media updated their "about" section on their YouTube channel
Annenberg Media updated their “about” section on their YouTube channel to explain a new series they were launching called “Full Disclosure.” They told users, “We want you to trust us. We’re pulling back the curtain on the decisions that go into reporting and publishing stories at Annenberg Media…” The description provides clarity for the user while the newsroom capitalizes on a simple branding opportunity offered by the social platform.
The Day used social media and their reporting to connect members of their community. After two women took an ad out in their newspaper looking for a relative, the Day wrote a story about it. After the story published, they found the relative and the Day wrote a follow-up story. When sharing the story link on Facebook the news organization highlighted how their reporting helped reunite the family.
The Day used social media and their reporting to connect members of their community. After two women took an ad out in their newspaper looking for a relative, the Day wrote a story about it. After the story published, they found the relative and the Day wrote a follow-up story. When sharing the story link on Facebook the news organization highlighted how their reporting helped reunite the family.
The Day used Facebook to answer questions from users about how their news process works. They used the opportunity to explain story selection, coverage priorities and their journalism ethics. The Q&A, conducted through the comments section of the post on Facebook, reached more than 5,000 people and almost all of the feedback was positive, even when the answer was not exactly what the user wanted to hear.
The Day used Facebook to answer questions from users about how their news process works. They used the opportunity to explain story selection, coverage priorities and their journalism ethics. The Q&A, conducted through the comments section of the post on Facebook, reached more than 5,000 people and almost all of the feedback was positive, even when the answer was not exactly what the user wanted to hear.
The Gazette used a historic photo of their newsroom to highlight their connection to the community. The news organization did something similar before, but saw a more positive response when using a photo from the past. The post also asked users for feedback by including a link to a Google Form.
The Gazette used a historic photo of their newsroom to highlight their connection to the community. The news organization did something similar before but saw a more positive response when using a photo from the past. The post also asked users for feedback by including a link to a Google Form.
USA TODAY used Twitter to share how they are working to earn trust from users. While highlighting a timely stat about the spread of misinformation, the news organization included a link to a story they wrote about why earning user trust is important to them.
USA TODAY used Twitter to share how they are working to earn trust from users. While highlighting a timely stat about the spread of misinformation, the news organization included a link to a story they wrote about why earning user trust is important to them.