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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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. 
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.

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. 

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.

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.