Grant from SPJ Foundation will fund a Trust Kit for freelancers

The Trusting News team has received a $5,750 grant from the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation. The grant will fund the creation of a new Trust Kit resource: How to Build Trust as a Freelancer.

The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Trusting News is one of seven organizations to receive recent funding.

The goal of the Trust Kit will be to equip freelancers with the tools they need to build trust in their individual reporting, and in the stories they publish.

So many journalism support resources are geared toward people working as part of newsroom teams. We’re excited to orient this new offering around people working independently. The kit will explain and provide specifics about how individual journalists can build trust through transparency, community engagement and humility.

Trust Kits, which our team started rolling out in April 2023, are self-guided training tools designed to be one-stop resources on specific topics. They offer step-by-step instructions for demonstrating credibility and actively earning trust on a variety of subjects such as:

  • EthicsPeople don’t give journalists automatic credit for the ethical decisions we make. Rather than hope they’ll offer us the benefit of the doubt, this Trust Kit walks you through how to explain and get on the record about your ethics.
  • Explain what you coverYour audience notices what you cover — and what you don’t cover. If you don’t explain your story selection process, that can lead to negative assumptions about your motives. This Trust Kit helps you counter this by getting on the record (internally and externally) about how you make coverage decisions.
  • ListeningHow can journalists effectively serve audiences without first knowing who it is they are serving and how well they’re doing it? (Spoiler: You can’t!) This Trust Kit walks you through how to reach new and diverse audiences by doing curiosity-driven listening in your community.
  • Earn trust with sourcesBeing featured in news coverage can come with a lot of potential downsides for people’s reputations, businesses and even safety. This Trust Kit guides journalists through how to make the sourcing process less risky and more transparent.

See the full list of Trust Kits on our website. And suggest additional topics you’d like to see covered by emailing

At Trusting News, we learn how people decide what news to trust and turn that knowledge into actionable strategies for journalists. We train and empower journalists to take responsibility for demonstrating credibility and actively earning trust through transparency and engagement. Learn more about our work, vision and teamSubscribe to our Trust Tips newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Director Joy Mayer (she/her) founded Trusting News in 2016 after a 20-year career in newsrooms and teaching. She spent 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian and also taught web design and print design. She lives in Sarasota, Florida, and can be reached at or on Twitter @mayerjoy.