After incorrect information was spreading in the community about how city officials were allegedly hiding Coronavirus numbers from the public, the Tennessean wrote a fact check countering the misinformation. The story addressed the misinformation and explained where the confusion was. By correcting the record the newsroom was able to demonstrate to their readers that they care about getting things right.
The Colorado Sun wrote a columnn about their newsroom’s approach to the 2020 elections, which included how they work to be fair, why they are trustworthy and how they decide what election news to cover — and not cover. “Our mission is to inform more than infuriate by telling stories that hold elected officials accountable and help readers better understand what’s happening within the state’s democratic institutions and political arena,” the column reads. “This particularly applies to our 2020 election coverage.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
After the police chief in Tulsa made accusations on Twitter that the media was “bored” after violence didn’t break out at a local protest, journalists in Tulsa responded by defending their work as journalists. “Bored? I slept less this weekend than most because I was engaged. I heard incredible stories. Saw amazing gestures. Watched people stand up for what they believe in. And I was thankful that no one was injured, including myself and my colleagues,” reporter Whitney Bryen, a reporter at Oklahoma Watch, Tweeted. “For the record, I do this very difficult job because of the injustices and violence that are perpetrated, to bring them to light and educate readers so they can act. I never wish for violence. That is the worst part of my job.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.
The Wirecutter at the New York Times wrote a column explaining the website had removed previous reporting with outdated information from the CDC about the need for wearing face masks in public during the coronavirus pandemic. “US officials recommend that you wear a mask to try to protect others—and possibly yourself—from the coronavirus. But that hasn’t always been their advice. Because of these changes, some of our reporting from earlier this year has become so outdated that we’ve unpublished it from our site,” the column read. “This is why we’ve taken down our outdated advice and replaced it with this: You should wear a mask to try to protect others—and possibly yourself—from the coronavirus.”
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.”
Community Impact Newspaper reporter Emma Freer wrote a column explaining to readers the paper’s coverage process when it comes to reporting on new businesses opening, closing and relocating in the community. The column explains the ways they find out about businesses opening or closing, how they confirm the information and what goes into publishing the story. Oftentimes, audiences also assume that money is involved in the coverage of local businesses. To level up, the organization could’ve also set the record straight by stating that money is not a factor when making these decisions. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.”
Instead of leaving it up to their audience to guess why they sometimes don’t include police descriptions of suspects in breaking news stories, Digital Director of News 5 Cleveland Joe Donatelli wrote a column explaining the station’s process: “When a news organization offers only racial and gender identifiers as part of its news reports for years, or decades, what is the more likely outcome: that these extremely vague descriptions will better inform the public, or that we will be a party to unintentionally perpetuating stereotypes? In our judgment, sharing vague descriptions that are of little value repeatedly to a mass audience does more harm than good.” The station also has a link to their explainers that touch on newsroom process all in one place, which not only makes it easily accessible for users but also demonstrates to their audience they are willing to be transparent around their ethics, values and processes. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
ProPublica wrote a thoughtful explanation of why they decided to publish a disturbing video of a suspect who died while in police custody. The explanation also addresses the ethics of publishing their investigation without family cooperation: “In the end, we have come down on the side of giving the fullest possible account of what our story terms “a recurrent tragedy — a person in mental crisis dying in law enforcement custody. This video could be traumatizing to those who see it. It depicts the harsh treatment of yet another person of color at the hands of law enforcement. Some have argued that the media should stop releasing video of law enforcement officials inflicting harm on black or brown bodies. While recognizing that viewpoint, we hope that the significance of this story outweighs the pain it causes.” The newsroom also prominently linked to the explanation on the story page so that anytime someone interacts with the story for the first time, they’re invited to learn more about the ethics and process behind it. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.
When the heartbreaking photos of a young dad and his toddler who drowned trying to cross the border into the United States emerged, news organizations had to make the difficult decision of whether they would show the graphic photo alongside their reporting. When USA TODAY made the call that they would run the photo, standards editor Manny Garcia wrote a column explaining the reasoning behind the decision. “This is a story that must be told — fully and truthfully, with context and perspectives from all sides … Death is a constant along the border, but rarely is it captured in such a direct way,” Garcia wrote. It’s likely the column got much less traffic than the actual news story itself, leading to the assumption that a lot of readers didn’t see or know the level of thought the paper put behind this decision to run the graphic photo. To level up, we recommend including a sentence about their decision and linking to the column in the caption of the photo itself. That way the explanation would appear alongside the photo in every story it was attached to.
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.
VOX media included a note at the bottom of a story related to the coronavirus outbreak that talked about the organization’s values and then tied it to an ask for user’s support. “Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn,” the editor’s note says. “Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
While other news sources were reporting the names of those who were violating Cincinnati’s stay-at-home violations, WPCO Senior Director Mike Canan took the opportunity to differentiate his newsroom’s approach from the competition. Instead of publishing specific names, Canan said he “challenged our team to do more. I wanted context on how law enforcement was making these decisions and what the data was showing. Ultimately, one person’s name is less important to the community as the pattern of behavior,” Canan wrote. “What we found is that mostly the people involved committed other crimes and police simply tacked the stay-at-home violation on.” Canan shared this information in a series of tweets while linking to the story.
In a story about presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, the San Fransisco Chroncicle inserted language in the story to tell readers how and why they were covering Democratic presidential candidates, and how the paper was striving to provide equal coverage. “The Chronicle is examining how California would look if the major Democratic presidential candidates were elected and could implement their top policy priorities,” the box read. “Candidates’ positions are taken from their websites, their campaign comments, and in some cases legislation they have sponsored in office.”
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.
Student reporters at Cronkite News gave their audience a behind-the-scenes look at their reporting process while covering a teacher strike in Arizona through a video series called “Full Circle.” In the video, they showed their reporting process, from how they decided which shots they tried while out in the field to their editorial meeting where they discussed coverage and the paper’s story selection process. “Our goal is to be transparent in our planning and reporting the news of the day. So we are taking you from pitch to prime time and even inside our post newscast meeting,” the video states. “We’ll document the work of our reporters, editors and producers as we prepare stories for our Arizona PBS audience.” 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.
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 Bangor Daily News in Maine used an editors note in a newsletter to share their reporting goals and mission during the coronavirus pandemic. The newsroom reminded the public that they didn’t want to cause panic, but instead, wanted to “gather facts, dispel myths and address your information needs,” the note read. “We will clearly detail what is known and not known about the virus, the illness it causes, and risks to Mainers. We seek answers to the questions that only a local news source can ask.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
The Columbus Dispatch shared their mission and dedication to accurate, fair reporting by adding an editor’s note at the top of their coverage related to the COVID-19 outbreak. “With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to give you the information you need. We want to keep things in context in order to help you make decisions,” the note read. “You can find all of our stories here. These are being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing…” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
WPCO in Cincinnati included an editor’s note at the top of their Coronavirus coverage that shared their mission and goals for reporting on this pandemic with their audience. “With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need,” the note read. “We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.”
The Christian Science Monitor reminded their audience of their mission during the coronavirus outbreak by asking for feedback in a simple Tweet that read: “The Christian Science Monitor is committed to covering the coronavirus pandemic. How are we doing? What coverage do you need right now? Let us know.”
Man, there are a lot of coronavirus updates flying around these days. There’s so much to know and understand, and there’s sure not a shortage of news stories. But we know that access to more stories doesn’t always make people feel more informed. Often, it’s the opposite. You might be in a newsroom that sees its mission as sharing every new fact and every new angle in real time. Perhaps that’s why people turn to you in the first place. But for some of you — especially in local news — it’s worth stepping back and thinking about what role you play. In a crowded news ecosystem full of constant, repetitive, overwhelming updates, what do you offer? Some newsrooms are having conversations about focusing on the larger context, and on information that helps people make decisions about their own lives. If you’re in one of them, congratulations! It sounds like the mission of your coverage is clear. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
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.
To be more transparent about where opinion content comes from and who’s writing it, the editorial board at the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times put an editor’s note at the top of an opinion piece noting that the state representative was invited to write the piece, and explained why. “We invited Rep. Jeff Leach, author of Proposition 4, to write this column in response to a column by the Center for Public Policy Priorities. The CPPP, which also wrote at our invitation, opposes the proposition, as do we,” the board wrote.
It’s common these days for journalists to write a “behind the story” piece to accompany long projects. In these stories, an editor typically explains why a story was done, demonstrates how much work it took to produce, credits the staff and answers some anticipated reader questions. Those pieces are usually on a separate page from the main story and often only the most dedicated readers will click through. At Trusting News, we’re firm believers in taking advantage of attention where we already have it: in the story itself. In the spot in the story where you say a source wasn’t available for comment, you could explain how you tried to reach the person. When you introduce an expert source, you could include information about their independence and reliability. When part of a story led you to consult a conflict of interest policy, describe the situation and link to the policy. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
Something that gets us VERY excited at Trusting News is when a newsroom is willing to use its newsletter to build trust. That’s partly because newsletters often use an informal tone and voice that are ideal for talking directly to readers about how and why the news is produced. But it’s also because of how simple it is to test two versions of something and see how audiences behave. Simple is a welcome change because measuring opinions about a news product is hard, and so is isolating trust factors when news has so many variables. We get pretty creative about how we gauge success, and we rely a lot on our partner newsrooms to tell us what they observe about their audience’s responses to trust-building efforts. (We’re also grateful when we can partner with academic researchers.) More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Grady Newsource publicly posted it’s guiding principles on their “About Us” page, including its mission, reporting process and newsroom standards. The principles state in clear language how the paper handles corrections, verifies facts and explains it’s protocol when covering sensitive situations, like sexual assault accusations and suicide. “Our mission is to serve the residents of Northeast Georgia by informing them in a way that helps them make decisions about and understand their lives and communities,” they wrote. The news team also admits that defining “what is news,” can be difficult but they try to be consistent and pick stories based on their mission and principles.
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
Journalists often face tough decisions when it comes to whether and how to publish disturbing images. They carefully weigh their responsibility to accurately and compellingly reflect a harsh reality while also avoiding exploitation and respecting the preferences and privacy of both their audience members and the subjects of the images. As Kelly McBride wrote for Poynter last week, it’s not up to newsrooms to shield their communities from hard truths, but they can minimize harm by treating the situation carefully. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Breaking news is a term that elicits varied feelings for journalists. It seems to always be a hectic time, with people and information moving at lightning speeds. It’s also when news organizations have an opportunity to fulfill one of their top duties: providing accurate information to the public. While a lot of us thrive and feel an adrenaline rush during breaking news situations, it’s also a time when most mistakes happen. And our audiences notice. To read more from this edition click here and you can sign up for the weekly “Trust Tips” newsletter by clicking here.
A core principle of our work is to make our ethics policies more accessible. Policies should be posted on news websites — that’s an important first step. But how many people will find them and read them? We should also look for every opportunity to show how they inform our daily decision making. Annenberg Media’s ethics page allows staff to link to an individual policy, and this example shows how they can do that from a specific part of a story.
In response to comments from Dana Loesch, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, who said: “Many in legacy media love mass shootings.” The USA TODAY Network reporters and editors recounted what it’s actually like to cover mass shootings and other tragedies in a column.
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 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.
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.
Using Facebook the Gazette asked users for story ideas. They stressed their focus on community issues and specifically asked for ideas on what types of local stories the news organization should cover. The news team felt the comments were productive and that their focus on "local" in the post helped keep the conversation and comments positive.
Using Facebook the Gazette asked users for story ideas. They stressed their focus on community issues — and their local ownership — and specifically asked for ideas on what types of local stories the news organization should cover. The news team felt the comments were productive and that their focus on “local” in the post helped keep the conversation and comments positive.
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.”
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 Standard-Examiner hosted a Facebook Live to describe how their news process works. During the video the newspaper's executive editor and publisher talked about how they make coverage decisions, select stories and how the editorial process works. They took questions live from the audience and received more than 2,000 views.
The Standard-Examiner hosted a Facebook Live to describe how their news process works. During the video, the newspaper’s executive editor and publisher talked about how they make coverage decisions, select stories and how the editorial process works. They took questions live from the audience and received more than 2,000 views.
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.
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.
Sometimes explaining why you are not covering a story is just as helpful for your users as explaining why you are covering one. KCRG did just that when users asked them why they were not covering all school threats happening in the community. They decided to write an explainer story on their website explaining when and why they will cover school threats and also when they will not. The policy was one that was known inside the newsroom but it was the first time they were making their policy public.
Sometimes explaining why you are not covering a story is just as helpful for your users as explaining why you are covering one. KCRG did just that when users asked them why they were not covering all school threats happening in the community. They decided to write an explainer story on their website explaining when and why they will cover school threats and also when they will not. The policy was one that was known inside the newsroom but it was the first time they were making their policy public.
Sometimes explaining why you are not covering a story is just as helpful for your users as explaining why you are covering one. KCRG did just that when users asked them why they were not covering all school threats happening in the community. They decided to write an explainer story on their website explaining when and why they will cover school threats and also when they will not. The policy was one that was known inside the newsroom but it was the first time they were making their policy public.
Sometimes explaining why you are not covering a story is just as helpful for your users as explaining why you are covering one. KCRG did just that when users asked them why they were not covering all school threats happening in the community. They decided to write an explainer story on their website explaining when and why they will cover school threats and also when they will not. The policy was one that was known inside the newsroom but it was the first time they were making their policy public.
When a suicide occurred on campus, Annenberg Media staff were torn on whether or not they should report on the incident. As they debated their options and talked about the legal issues internally, they also decided to share their thought process and reporting process with their users. Several of the reporters and news managers/professors were interviewed about why they covered the suicide. In the video, posted to Instagram and YouTube, the journalists discussed their policy when it comes to covering suicides and also linked to mental health resources available for those in need.
When a suicide occurred on campus, Annenberg Media staff were torn on whether or not they should report on the incident. As they debated their options and talked about the legal issues internally, they also decided to share their thought process and reporting process with their users. Several of the reporters and news managers/professors were interviewed about why they covered the suicide. In the video, posted to Instagram and YouTube, the journalists discussed their policy when it comes to covering suicides and also linked to mental health resources available for those in need.
The Tennessean created a video to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor's resignation. The newsroom said it felt the video format added a lot of value to the message and they enjoyed being able to explain how and why the decision was made instead of just writing a column. The newsroom also went live on Facebook to explain their decision.
The Tennessean created a video to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor’s resignation. The newsroom said it felt the video format added a lot of value to the message and they enjoyed being able to explain how and why the decision was made instead of just writing a column. The newsroom also went live on Facebook to explain their decision.
The Tennessean went live on Facebook to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor's resignation. By going live on Facebook the journalists provided users a place to be heard and receive feedback.The newsroom also created a video to explain how and why the decision was made.
The Tennessean went live on Facebook to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor’s resignation. By going live on Facebook the journalists provided users a place to be heard and receive feedback. The newsroom also created a video to explain how and why the decision was made. 
While working on a story about the Parkland school shooting, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor decided to share how she was able to get in touch with the students she quoted in her article. She said it felt "totally natural" to include this information and helped her explain her reporting process to her users.
While working on a story about the Parkland school shooting, A reporter for the Christian Science Monitor decided to share how she was able to get in touch with the students she quoted in her article. She said it felt “totally natural” to include this information and helped her explain her reporting process to her users.
A lot of users wonder why certain stories make it into the news cycle while others do not. The Christian Science Monitor decided to add an editor's note to one of their newsletters explaining why a story was being covered. They shared how the story idea became a "talker" during the editorial meeting and that impacted their decision to include the story in their news coverage.
A lot of users wonder why certain stories make it into the news cycle while others do not. The Christian Science Monitor decided to add an editor’s note to one of their newsletters explaining why a story was being covered. They shared how the story idea became a “talker” during the editorial meeting and that impacted their decision to include the story in their news coverage.
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 Gazette decided to explain how it covered a story by writing a separate article on their website and linking to it from the main story page. They included the link inside a pull-out box on the story page.
The Gazette decided to explain how it covered a story by writing a separate article on their website and linking to it from the main story page. They included the link inside a pull-out box on the story page.
When the Olympics took place in a time zone 14 hours ahead of most U.S. audiences, USA TODAY faced complaints about "spoilers" in their coverage. This post explained why they prioritize sharing information as it happens, rather than waiting for prime time. Plus, they offered a few tips to help readers customize their notifications, good knowledge to share in many situations.
When the Olympics took place in a time zone 14 hours ahead of most U.S. audiences, USA TODAY faced complaints about “spoilers” in their coverage. This post explained why they prioritize sharing information as it happens, rather than waiting for prime time. Plus, they offered a few tips to help readers customize their notifications, good knowledge to share in many situations.
Screenshot from a Discourse Media newsletter
At Discourse, newsletters allow reporters the freedom to show more personality than they do in finished pieces. Here, the reporter shares how her goals, her sourcing, and some practical limitations (juggling deadlines!) shapes her reporting on a topic. Abundantly linking can also help readers follow along on their own.

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. 
Ogden behind the scenes pornography
With big stories, take time to introduce the staff behind the scenes. Use it as an opportunity to explain why you did a story, what questions you set out to answer and how it came together.
Enid overdue bills scam
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. 

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.