After WCPO decided not to disclose the identity of a student who hosted a party despite being diagnosed with COVID-19, the station’s content manager Ted Wilson wrote a column explaining their decision and the journalism ethics associated with it. “Often, the journalist’s job is not just to report the facts but also to balance the impact of their reporting among all the stakeholders in a story,” Wilson wrote. “In this case, WCPO 9 News chose to report what happened while trying to respect the privacy rights of the accused.”
The San Antonia Report created a standing page on its website to explain the newsroom’s policy in regards to advertising and sponsored content. The page describes the difference between the two types of content and is clear in stating how each type of content will be labeled and appear on the website.
Staff at KBOO in Oregon redid their About page, which included the station’s mission statement, information about staff, how it operates, it’s journalistic values, and how audience members can share feedback. The station also included a specific section about the newsroom’s commitment to facts and unbiased election coverage. “During our election coverage we will be focusing on stories that provide you the facts and context you need to make informed decisions. We promise to focus on information that is helpful and not exaggerated, sensationalized or politicized,” the page reads.
During racial unrest in the country after George Floyd’s death, Crosscut recognized that the newsroom needed to also make adjustments to make sure their staff was accurately representing their community in their coverage. “The Crosscut newsroom is in the process of examining our own policies and practices, including the diversity of our newsroom, and we’re taking a hard look at how we’re applying these journalistic standards to make sure critical perspectives aren’t left out in our pursuit of the truth,” the article read. The newsroom went on to ask for the public’s help and input in keeping them accountable to make these changes: “We need your input because our mission is to earn and deepen trust, which is not the same thing as getting us all to agree. But if you find yourself unable to find credibility in what we say, we want to hear why and explore how we can do better.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
At Trusting News, we’re often asked by newsrooms how we know our strategies work. It’s an important question. We’re always happy to point to examples of what newsrooms say is effective but we’re also especially grateful when we have the chance to work with academic researchers. Through a series of focus groups, Trusting News and the Center for Media Engagement found that TV newsrooms can build trust with their audiences by explaining why a story is covered, providing additional resources at the end of stories and inviting audience participation. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
After receiving complaints and feedback that they were biased in their coverage, the Coloradoan’s content strategies Jennifer Hefty wrote a column explaining that yes, they were biased, but biased toward facts, public safety, and toward bettering the community. “In short, yes we have biases: Not of the political nature, but toward public safety and facts,” Hefty wrote in a Facebook post. Hefty’s column also went on to address questions and feedback about the newsroom’s coronavirus coverage, shedding light on their reporting process and the newsroom’s continued mission of fairness and accuracy. “Our newsroom has changed — from our physical location to how we stagger shifts to provide more coverage while working with reduced staffing. Our stories have changed — we shifted away from long-term plans to better cover the rapidly-developing pandemic,” Hefty wrote. “Two things that have not changed: Our ethical principles and our commitment to transparency with you, our readers.”
During major news situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy for audiences to feel overwhelmed and then tune out. The LAist countered this by providing one spot with contextualized information and answers to basic questions about the pandemic all in one place, making it so users don’t have to sift through a bunch of different updates to find the most relevant and important information.
In the midst of covering protests in Cincinnati, WCPO director Mike Canan wrote a column reminding their users of their journalist’s dedication to providing fair coverage for their community by discussing how they were putting themselves in the middle of it all — risking danger from protests and the police while also facing the danger of contracting COVID. “At the same time, the middle is where we have to be. We need to be out there reporting,” Canan wrote. “But we also need to be showing both sides. We need to accurately and fairly reflect what is happening in our community.”
During an on-air broadcast, WCPO News Director Mike Canan responded to a few complaints that said the station replayed the video footage of George Floyd’s being killed under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer too many times. “We generally avoid sharing the last moments of people’s lives. In the instance we would use it, it is to establish a key moment … You can make that point by sharing that video one time, not four times,” Canan said.
WJXT4 anchor Vic Micolucci used Facebook to explain the station’s approach to local coverage. In the post, he reminded users that he’s a part of the Jacksonville community, he’s committed to sharing the most accurate, up-to-date information and he doesn’t like to see the local community hurting. “I don’t hate police officers. Or protesters. I’m friends with people on both sides of the line. Every person is different. I don’t want small businesses to fail or people to lose their jobs. I don’t want people to get sick. I don’t want unrest,” Micolucci wrote. “I WANT to share good news. And I do. The 9am show I anchor has a lot of positive stories daily. However, as a journalist, I have to report on crisis, concerns and controversy. If I don’t, who will?” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Personally, I’ve had a hard time articulating how I feel as I see the pain, anger, support and sadness pour from communities around the country. The news appears on my phone in a constant stream of push alerts. It’s also in my social media feeds as images, videos and raw emotional thoughts from friends and family — but also from a lot of people I do not know but feel I relate to, depending on the moment. I think it is important for us to remind ourselves: These feelings are normal. These feelings are shared. These feelings are human. As journalists, I think we sometimes forget that. We put those human feelings to the side as we do our jobs. As we report on what we see, we push back feelings so we do not let them impair our ability to fairly and accurately share what we are seeing. But, we have to remember that we are people. People with families and friends. We are people who worry about issues, the future, our communities and our safety. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
ProPublica sent out a newsletter to the people who have supported them financially that talked directly about political bias in news. The organization’s president Richard Tofel, who penned the newsletter, shared that yes, the newsroom has written more stories critical of President Trump than President Obama, and went on to explain in detail why that’s the case. Tofel also was very transparent about what ProPublica’s audience looked like (that it tends to be more liberal) and why they wish they had more conservative and non-white readers. “ProPublica would be more effective if our readership contained a proportion of people of color closer to the population of the country, and if it contained a similar proportion of self-identified conservatives,” Tofel wrote. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
As journalists, we interact with a lot of people in our community. What if, after each of those interactions, the person walked away with something tangible that invited them to get to know the newsroom better? The Herald & Review did this by creating a handout about their newsroom titled “4 ways you can help the Herald & Review cover your community.” The handout was simple and easy to digest but included a lot of good information, including how users could share feedback, support the paper, join the conversation themselves, or meet the journalists in person. The bottom of the handout also included direct contact information for the editor in chief, along with a photo, helping make the journalists in the newsroom feel accessible and human.
WCPO decided their newsroom would severely limit the number of crime mugshots it used on its website. Director Mike Canan wrote a column explaining the change, specifically addressing how mugshots often disproportionately represented people of color and people with mental health issues while rarely added to the value of the actual reporting. The station also explicitly listed its new protocol for how it would use mugshots, inviting its audience to hold them accountable to their own standards. “We think it is ethical and responsible without harming our commitment to accurate journalism,” Canan wrote.
WTXL decided to stop publishing mugshots in the majority of its crime stories. The station’s general manager Matt Brown wrote in a column explaining that the decision was out of a commitment to “tell stories that go beyond the irrelevant and isolated stories on the crime beat, and instead focus on stories that give you a true sense of your community through context, perspective and impact. We will still cover significant and impactful crimes in your community. We will still publish stories with mugshots of persons wanted or arrested for noteworthy or impactful crimes in your community.” Brown ended the column by stating he hoped the change would be a positive one for the community and offered a place for users to offer their feedback about the decision. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Several things are true at this strange moment. Our lives feel upside down. People are worried about their health and have a heightened desire to stay informed. The economy is in turmoil. Journalists are stressed and pressed for time (or furloughed or laid off). The financial part of the news business is in a weakened state just when people need journalism most. All of this happening in an information landscape that is complicated and full of pitfalls for both news consumers and journalists. People are skeptical of journalism — sometimes for fair reasons and sometimes based on misassumptions and ignorance about how journalism operates. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
WCPO launched a new series called Act of Kindness to highlight positive things happening in Cincinnati during the coronavirus outbreak. “When I am out speaking in the community, I tell people every corner of our community is neither all bad or all good. Our job as journalists is to paint that picture accurately,” news director Mike Canon wrote when speaking to the station’s breadth of coverage. “That remains true when it comes to the impact of COVID-19. There’s a lot of darkness out there. But there are also everyday people doing heroic things to help their neighbors. We have a responsibility to tell you those stories — in addition to the stories about the virus’s impact.” By highlighting the positive stories they cover, it helps the station remind their audience that they do more than just report on negative news.
Tell your audience directly that your news outlet doesn’t celebrate covering big crises like the COVID-19 outbreak. Editor of the Arizona Daily Star, Jill Jordan Spitz, did this through a column where she reminded their audience that the journalists were dedicated to covering the coronavirus outbreak because of their commitment to serving the city. “No, we are not loving this,” Spitz writes. “But covering events that hurt our community does not make us happy — and contrary to what some people seem to believe, it does not make us money.” The column went onto explain how the virus spread has affected the paper’s bottom line and contrary to some public belief, was actually decreasing funding for the paper.
The editor at the Coloradoan Eric Larsen wrote a column directly talking to readers about how the newsroom is responding to coronavirus — and how much they need their community’s support. “Like you, we’re weary from the myriad changes the last two weeks have brought. But our dedication to serve Fort Collins and our surrounding communities is steadfast. We will not waver,” Larsen wrote. “…here’s a quick look at the steps we’re taking to ensure Fort Collins and Northern Colorado stay informed and healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press started a series called The Helper where they highlight people and groups who are stepping up to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. By reporting on positive news that uplifts the community, it shows the organization’s breadth of work, as well as their commitment to their community.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, The Tennessean’s opinion editor David Plazas started a video series to continue bringing interviews and insights from experts to the public. Their goal is to interview some of the people who write guest opinion stories for them on a weekly basis. “As an opinion and engagement editor, I typically am out and about in the community, attending events and meetings, and moderating debates and discussions. Self-quarantining in the age of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has made that impossible for the time being. That is why on Tuesday we launched the new Tennessee Voices videocast,” the story reads. “Our opinion team continues to publish guest columns daily by thoughtful innovators, creators and leaders in the community to keep readers connected.”
The editor of the Bozeman Chronicle Nick Ehli wrote a column explaining how economic changes during the coronavirus outbreak were impacting the paper’s bottom line. He explained in a transparent and straightforward tone that the paper had lost a significant amount of advertising money and how that was affecting the hours his reporters were able to work. “…out parent company, the Adams Publishing Group, this week ordered a top-to-bottom partial furlough for all of its employees. This means that — for the time being — our journalists will be working fewer hours than they were before. I’d like to tell you that you won’t notice any changes, that we will be able to cover our community with the same vigor you’ve hopefully come to expect, but that simply wouldn’t be true,” Ehli wrote. “Reporters and photographers working 30 hours a week instead of 40 will produce less content. There is no way around that fact.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Audrey Cooper wrote a column telling their audience that while their journalists and entire news operation were working remotely, they were still just as committed to providing accurate, timely news to the community. “It’s critical that we be there to make sure that you have the information you need to make decisions about what’s right for your family and for your community, ” Cooper wrote. “Whether we are recording podcasts from under a sound-dulling blanket fort (yes, I did that), conducting interviews in a child’s closet among stuffed animals (as reporter Matthias Gafni did), or updating the live updates story while batting away a persistent cat (thanks, Lauren Hernández), we will do everything we can to ensure we provide you with the news now and well after the crisis is over.”
Posting your organization’s guiding principles in a prominent place is a good way to share your mission with your audience. Entercom did this by publicly posting the organization’s core principles on their website’s “About Us” page. “We are a mission-driven company. We care. A lot. We care about our communities, our listeners, our customers, our brands, our partners, our company, our work, and our teammates,” they wrote. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Does your community know your organization is invested in its future and well-being? The Tennessean showed their newsroom’s commitment to its community by hosting an event where local residents gathered to think about inequities facing Nashville’s public schools and brainstorm possible solutions. After the event, opinion editor David Plazas wrote a story highlighting key findings from the event and thanked readers for their time and participation. “On behalf of The Tennessean, I am so grateful for the community’s interest and participation,” Plazas wrote.
Does your community know your organization’s mission? KPCC/LAist’s Editor Megan Garvey wrote a column explaining the station’s dedication to public service and explicitly shared the topics and questions each reporter was committed to covering. “We know we have to earn and keep your trust by delivering fair and accurate reporting. We know we need to make important stories interesting,” Garvey wrote. “And we also know we need to be more transparent in our process and better explain how we report stories.”
Asking for feedback can be a great way to let your audience know you’re working to provide them with the best information. During Hurricane Dorian, reporter Eve Samples with the USA TODAY Network sent out a weather newsletter to readers in nine markets in the southeast region. She included a survey in each newsletter and ended up receiving hundreds of positive responses from readers. Some of the feedback included: “What I am seeing here is very helpful” and “I feel a part of this community and your newspaper keeps me well informed. Thank you.” At the top of the next weather article, she reiterated the journalist’s commitment to the community and followed up by thanking readers for their feedback and comments. USA TODAY is a Trusting News partner but this work was done independently from Trusting News.
When you ask someone about the news, their mind might go directly to politics, crime or breaking news coverage. But we know we offer a lot more than that. It’s important we remind our audiences of this. Why? If people only think of polarizing or sensational topics when they think of your news coverage, it’s going to be more difficult to build trust with them. We need to remind them about the range of news we cover, especially the content that helps improve their lives or make informed decisions. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Journalists serve as a community’s watchdogs. That idea is a core part of what we value and what we strive for. But does your community understand what that means? They may understand the basic concept: watch out for wrongdoing and call it out when we see it. But do they know how that’s different than “gotcha” reporting? And do we sometimes hide behind being watchdogs while actually just reporting on “gotcha” moments? More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.

 

 

Isn’t it frustrating to watch news outlets get something dead wrong that you worked hard to get right? It’s important that we correct misinformation, especially on topics we have expertise in. It’s something we can do without spitefulness, and often without even naming the journalists who are at fault. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of earning trust face to face — how looking into another person’s eyes is more likely to create an authentic connection than an online or phone interaction. I also pointed you to new Pew data, which shows that only 21 percent of Americans have ever spoken with a journalist. (And those interactions are more likely to have happened with younger, less affluent, less educated, non-white people.) More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Trust Tips 1: Ask how you could better earn trust
When was the last time you told your community that you value their trust? How often do you ask them how you could do better? In text? On air? On social media? In a newsletter? Acknowledging that you know some of them don’t trust you is powerful, as is asking for feedback. News consumers aren’t usually shy about telling us how we could do better, but asking for input directly (rather than just waiting to see what comments people leave on stories) can help get a constructive conversation going. This is from our “Trust Tips” weekly newsletter. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
More than 60 students, teachers and chaperones visited the newsroom of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
More than 60 students, teachers, and chaperones visited the newsroom of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was the first time the newsroom had opened its doors to the public since 2014. During the two and a half hour visit, students helped choose the story for the top of the home page, met photographers, reporters, and editors, and had an opportunity to try their hand at weather and traffic in front of the green screen. The feedback from the visit was overwhelmingly positive and the newsroom shared photos and videos from the event on their Facebook page.
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.
The Coloradoan created a Facebook group for their community so people can get answers about what is happening in their local neighborhoods. They partnered with their local fire agency who also chimes in and provides answers to some of the questions. The news organization created user guidelines and is very clear about what people should expect from the group. So far, they said, feedback has been very positive and they have been able to get local utility companies and the police department involved in discussions as well.
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.
The Gazette used the Facebook Story (About) feature to share their history as a news organization. They discussed how long they have served the community and highlighted milestones along the way. By completing this section, anyone who clicks on their Facebook page will be able to learn more about their news organization and history in the community.
The Gazette used the Facebook Story (About) feature to share their history as a news organization. They discussed how long they have served the community and highlighted milestones along the way. By completing this section, anyone who clicks on their Facebook page will be able to learn more about their news organization and history in 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.
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 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 highlight a historic winter event from the past. In the post they mentioned the journalists who worked on the story by name and included information about how long they had been covering these topics to help demonstrate the journalists' credibility and expertise.
The Day used Facebook to highlight a historic winter event from the past. In the post, they mentioned the journalists who worked on the story by name and included information about how long they had been covering these topics to help demonstrate the journalists’ credibility and expertise.
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 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.
While working on a long-term investigative project about local law enforcement, WCPO thought about how their users may respond to the story once it was published. They realized they may get pushback for investigating police officers and decided to publish a story explaining why they are holding law enforcement accountable. They also highlight how being a watchdog is part of their mission as a news organization. The news team said the explainer story helped keep the focus on their reporting and what they uncovered instead of anti-cop rhetoric they were anticipating.
While working on a long-term investigative project about local law enforcement, WCPO thought about how their users may respond to the story once it was published. They realized they may get pushback for investigating police officers and decided to publish a story explaining why they are holding law enforcement accountable. They also highlight how being a watchdog is part of their mission as a news organization. The news team said the explainer story helped keep the focus on their reporting and what they uncovered instead of anti-cop rhetoric they were anticipating.
WCPO wrote a web article explaining the important role trust plays in their relationship with their community. The article discussed their participation in the Trusting News project and highlighted how they are going to try to be more trustworthy. The web article also invited feedback from users.
WCPO wrote a web article explaining the important role trust plays in their relationship with their community. The article discussed their participation in the Trusting News project and highlighted how they are going to try to be more trustworthy. The web article also invited feedback 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.
WITF wanted to show users they are connected to the community so they added a note at the top of a story. It read, "WITF is part of your community. We're your neighbors. We invest in this type of reporting because it's vital to talk about life in our region, not about politics. Learn more about our involvement in the Trusting News project."
WITF wanted to show users they are connected to the community so they added a note at the top of a story. It read, “WITF is part of your community. We’re your neighbors. We invest in this type of reporting because it’s vital to talk about life in our region, not about politics. Learn more about our involvement in the Trusting News project.”
If your staffers are comfortable with it, take the time to show who they are outside of work. A photo of a Jefferson City News Tribune reporter playing in the community band generated positive responses. Posts like these remind readers that you are real people (not "the media") and that you're their neighbors.
If your staffers are comfortable with it, take the time to show who they are outside of work. A photo of a Jefferson City News Tribune reporter playing in the community band generated positive responses. Posts like these remind readers that you are real people (not “the media”) and that you’re their neighbors.
Are you a local reporter? Own it. A reporter at the Coloradoan took to Twitter to share her pride in covering stories that would otherwise go untold. As she wrote, "You won’t see a reporter from a national news outlet going door-to-door in your neighborhood most days." Don't be shy about sharing genuine pride and excitement.
Are you a local reporter? Own it. A reporter at the Coloradoan took to Twitter to share her pride in covering stories that would otherwise go untold. As she wrote, “You won’t see a reporter from a national news outlet going door-to-door in your neighborhood most days.” Don’t be shy about sharing genuine pride and excitement.
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.
Screenshot from the Civility Tennessee group page on Facebook.
Hot button issues like racism and gun control can be difficult to have on social media. The Tennessean wanted to create a “safe place” for their community to engage with one another on the platform, so, they created a Facebook group called “Civility Tennessee.” The group has resulted in healthy discussions and over 150 active members posting daily or weekly. The group is “closed” and users have to answer a few questions in order to gain access. This allows the newsroom to have more control over who is in the group and makes moderation a bit easier.
Screenshot from the Civility Tennessee group page on Facebook.
Hot button issues like racism and gun control can be difficult to have on social media. The Tennessean wanted to create a “safe place” for their community to engage with one another on the platform, so, they created a Facebook group called “Civility Tennessee.” The group has resulted in healthy discussions and over 150 active members posting daily or weekly. The group is “closed” and users have to answer a few questions in order to gain access. This allows the newsroom to have more control over who is in the group and makes moderation a bit easier.
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 of a headline that reads: Plazas: Why can't we be more civil on the Nashville transit debate?

Screenshot from tennessean.com
The columnist’s transparency is admirable, as he owns up about how he was “duped” and how he tried to move forward with civility, rather than “starting a pointless and heated Twitter feud.” Readers responded positively and kept the conversation going with a steady stream of op-eds on the topic.

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.

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.