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.
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.
Saphara Harrell at the Salem Reporter wrote a first-person column about how she covered a shooting inside an Oregon Goodwill. In the column, she pulls back the curtain on her reporting by taking readers through her step-by-step process, including explaining coverage conversations she had with her editor, which public records she obtained and how she verified information from sources. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
After receiving some negative feedback about a story covering a controversial political meme, PA Post editor Russ Walker directly addressed the community concerns in a column. In the post, Walker reminded users of the newsroom’s mission and commitment to providing balanced election coverage of both parties while also explaining why the paper decided to cover this story in the first place. “The staff at PA Post knows we are heading into a contentious election year. While our focus is on covering policy and how government actions affect Pennsylvania citizens, we’ll also be watching the messages and campaign tactics of both parties. How campaigns are waged can tell us — the voters — a lot about how a candidate or party will govern,” Walker wrote. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.”
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.
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
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.
Picture the process of how your newsroom decides which stories to cover. Which meetings? Which crimes? Which festivals? Which games? If we’re honest, a lot of those decisions happen intuitively. We have conventions we follow about what’s newsworthy and what’s not. We have big-picture fairness we’re trying to achieve when it comes to who and what gets attention. We know what stories we did last year and try not to repeat them. 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.
When you bring news to people using many platforms, a best practice is to also share how users can contact you on all of those platforms. In a simple but effective move, WUSA created a full-screen TV graphic that tells users how they can contact the news organization. The graphic airs after every story in their "Verify" franchise. This has resulted in the newsroom receiving an additional 10-15 story ideas each day.
When you bring news to people using many platforms, a best practice is to also share how users can contact you on all of those platforms. In a simple but effective move, WUSA created a full-screen TV graphic that tells users how they can contact the news organization. The graphic airs after every story in their “Verify” franchise. This has resulted in the newsroom receiving an additional 10-15 story ideas each day.
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 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.
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.
In an on-air story, WUSA added language to highlight their committment to following-up on stories. They discussed how following up on important stories is a priority and part of responsible journalism. Adding the language was easy to do and felt right, according to the news organization.
In an on-air story, WUSA added language to highlight their commitment to following-up on stories. They discussed how following up on important stories is a priority and part of responsible journalism. Adding the language was easy to do and felt right, according to the news organization.
WITF decided to share their ethics policy and explain how it impacts their news decisions. In the post, on their webiste, the newsroom discussed how, when and why it may use anonymous sources, how it handles corrections, how it handles story selection and more.
WITF decided to share their ethics policy and explain how it impacts their news decisions. In the post, on their website, the newsroom discussed how, when and why it may use anonymous sources, how it handles corrections, how it handles story selection and more.
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.
While sharing a crime story on Facebook, the Coloradoan received questions about how they approach covering crime stories. In the comments section of the Facebook post, the news organization explained their crime coverage policy and answered questions from users.
While sharing a crime story on Facebook, the Coloradoan received questions about how they approach covering crime stories. In the comments section of the Facebook post, the news organization explained their crime coverage policy and answered questions from users.
After sharing some information about how they cover crime on Facebook, the Coloradoan decided to write a web story going into more detail about what their crime coverage policy is. By creating a separate page they are able to link to this when future questions up and can easily update it if their policy changes.
After sharing some information about how they cover crime on Facebook, the Coloradoan decided to write a web story going into more detail about what their crime coverage policy is. By creating a separate page they are able to link to this when future questions up and can easily update it if their policy changes.
The Gazette decided to explain how it covers crime stories by writing an FAQ on their website. By making it a separate article, it is something they can continuously link to and change if their policy or approach changes.
The Gazette decided to explain how it covers crime stories by writing an FAQ on their website. By making it a separate article, it is something they can continuously link to and change if their policy or approach changes.
Explaining why you're covering a story can help readers understand your motivations. WCPO used language like "we wanted to better understand communities that often are in the news only when crime has occurred there" can speak to those who assume journalists only want to drum up controversy and negativity.
Explaining why you’re covering a story can help readers understand your motivations. WCPO used language like “we wanted to better understand communities that often are in the news only when crime has occurred there” can speak to those who assume journalists only want to drum up controversy and negativity.
When WCPO reported on a public official's improper--but not illegal--behavior, they anticipated that readers might question their motivations. So, the news organization published a separate story explaining why editors found the behavior to be newsworthy and how the incident related to larger issues in local government. A call-out reinforced WCPO's commitment to transparent coverage and invited feedback.
When WCPO reported on a public official’s improper–but not illegal–behavior, they anticipated that readers might question their motivations. So, the news organization published a separate story explaining why editors found the behavior to be newsworthy and how the incident related to larger issues in local government. A call-out reinforced WCPO’s commitment to transparent coverage and invited feedback.
Audience members don't always understand the work that goes into a big investigative piece. WITF shined a light on a five-month projecy by discussing all of the work that went into the story: dozens of interviews, hundreds of miles traveled, tons of documents analyzed and input from several editors. In this case, the reporter was happy to share "the story behind the story," which both emphasizes the costs of serious reporting and reinforces the organization's commitment to fair, in-depth reporting.
Audience members don’t always understand the work that goes into a big investigative piece. WITF shined a light on a five-month projecy by discussing all of the work that went into the story: dozens of interviews, hundreds of miles traveled, tons of documents analyzed and input from several editors. In this case, the reporter was happy to share “the story behind the story,” which both emphasizes the costs of serious reporting and reinforces the organization’s commitment to fair, in-depth reporting.