In an effort to be more transparent with their audience, 6AM city updated and posted its ethics policy online and linked to it from each of their daily newsletters. “Though we’re a staff of people with individual backgrounds, views, and personalities, we will remain unbiased in our reporting to support productive conversations around our growing community. Our goal has been, and continues to be, getting you all of the need-to-know information you need to begin your day,” the policy reads.
While there are a lot of unknowns ahead of Election Day, there are things we as journalists can do to help manage our audiences’ expectations and prepare them for what to expect. One of those being telling people that there may not be results for days, possibly even weeks, after Election Day. WITF In Pennsylvania did this by running a box alongside the station’s voting stories and election previews that explains why the public shouldn’t expect election results on election night. The box reads: “Results of the Nov. 3 election in Pennsylvania, and across the country, likely won’t be known for days. The counting of ballots continues after election night most years. This year’s expected surge in mailed ballots means election offices will need extra time to tally all the votes.”
No one is expecting things to be “normal” for the remainder of 2020, and the upcoming election is no exception. As I talk to friends and family, they have a lot of anxiety and concerns ahead of Election Day due to all the unknowns surrounding it. And it makes sense — this election looks very different from previous elections. As journalists, we obviously can’t quell all unknowns. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have some future vision, though?) But what we can do is help manage our audience’s expectations for election night and beyond. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
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.
In order to make voting information easily accessible for readers, the Fulcrum created a voter FAQ that had information about how to make sure voter registration is up-to-date, how to find polling places and what voting rights the public has.
FiveThirtyEight included a disclaimer alongside an election poll they ran to clarity that while polls can be helpful benchmark ahead of the election, it can’t possibly predict the outcome of any election. “Before we proceed further, one disclaimer about the scope of the model: It seeks to reflect the vote as cast on Election Day, assuming that there are reasonable efforts to allow eligible citizens to vote and to count all legal ballots, and that electors are awarded to the popular-vote winner in each state. It does not account for the possibility of extraconstitutional shenanigans by Trump or by anyone else, such as trying to prevent mail ballots from being counted,” the disclaimer read.
Colorado Public Radio wrote a column about how the newsroom planned to cover the 2020 election. The post starts off strong by addressing the perception that news has an institutional bias. “At CPR News, our mission is to serve all Coloradans, not a partisan sliver. As the election approaches, we wanted to explain more thoroughly what we’re doing to earn your trust every day.” It then lists the questions it will address and links to each, which accomplishes two things: It lets readers on the page skip to a section they’re interested in and it lets the staff use the links to answer specific questions as they come up in stories and social posts.
PEN America wrote a guide for how to talk to friends and family who share misinformation, including how to verify information and avoid escalation on social media. “While some people create and spread disinformation—false information shared with the intent to deceive others—your friends and family may well spread misinformation, which is shared by people who may not know the information is false. They probably think the content is true, and they may feel they’re sharing something important. That can make it tough to know how to confront them. Here are a few suggestions.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
As journalists, it’s not our job to protect the public from information that is hard to hear or might increase their stress. But it is worth considering whether our journalism contributes to or assuages their anxiety. We can choose to air a highlight reel of chaos, or we can choose to provide calm, measured context. As this year’s election unfolds, that means reminding the public what we expect to see, what is unusual, what safeguards are in place, how long it will likely take for votes to be counted and what they can do to protect their own vote and stay informed. A significant chunk of your audience is probably exhausted by news coverage. Back in February, a Pew Research Center survey showed that two-thirds of U.S. adults are worn out by the news. And it’s fair to say the volume of news hasn’t decreased this year! So, how can journalists respond to that mood in a way that respects the experience of consuming their product? In a crowded, exhausting information landscape, how can your journalism stand out as a responsible, important part of your audience’s information diet? More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
Political polls are a lot to navigate: There are new ones continually. They seem to contradict each other. It’s hard to know which ones to trust, or if we should even bother paying attention. As journalists, we learn how much credence to give polls. We learn to look for independence in the pollsters (financial and political). We inspect their methodology. But are you explaining any of that? Doing so could build trust in your methods and can also help your audience be more educated consumers of polling data. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
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.”
Consuming news has felt especially challenging these days. Not only are the news events themselves hard to digest, but we’re also at a level of total information overload. Mix that with widely shared conspiracy theories and politicized public health information and you get a confusing and overwhelming output of news circulating on social media feeds. And man, sometimes it can be really hard to tell which of that content is real, agenda-driven or altogether untrue. Even as a trained journalist and a self-described skeptic, I’ve been duped by seemingly credible articles shared by friends or family, or doctored screenshots of the president’s tweets that at first glance were really believable. So think about how frustrating it must be for folks who are trying to get good, accurate information about their communities but don’t have the knowledge or training to decipher what’s credible information and what’s not? And how can we expect that same audience to trust the news we’re producing when there is indeed bad information out there that shouldn’t be trusted? More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
How do you describe conspiracy theories like QAnon to your audience? How about candidates for office who amplify or adhere to those theories? This is tricky territory for journalists. As the American Press Institute’s Susan Benkelman wrote last week: If you are in the business of trying to publish what’s true, how do you treat things that are untrue without amplifying them? When is the right time to write about them and what is the right way to describe them accurately? How do you decide which ones are not worth debunking and which are? In an age of social media, how do you do all this without inadvertently encouraging the spread of falsehoods? Benkelman’s piece is full of concrete advice and example language to use when making coverage decisions about dangerous, false messages. (As a reminder, Trusting News is a project of both API and the Reynolds Journalism Institute.) The piece also links to a running list of congressional candidates who have embraced QAnon’s messaging, sorted by state. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
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.
News 5 Cleveland wrote a story explaining why they don’t report on police scanner traffic even though it’s technically public information. “We don’t report on scanner traffic because relying only on those initial reports increases the likelihood that the story will be incomplete, untrue or devoid of what is so essential in any breaking news story — context,” the station’s digital director Joe Donatelli wrote. “A resident, a dispatcher or a first responder arriving on scene does not have a complete view of what has occurred.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.
While reporting on a controversial police killing of an unarmed black man, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution included a note explaining their approach to covering the story: “Given the intense public interest in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe and how this incident may factor into policy changes and decisions on policing, the AJC has committed to providing the fullest, most complete coverage possible. That includes looking at the actions and backgrounds of both Rolfe and Brooks and how those may have shaped their encounter on Friday night … We will publish more information as soon as we can evaluate what is accurate and relevant, and give the material context, as is our usual practice.”
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.
To improve transparency with users, the Philadelphia Inquirer started a series in one of their local newsletters where they take users behind to scenes so they can learn more about the newsroom’s process. The topics ranged from how breaking news works to why they have an opinion section.
Part of being a trusted news source is reliably providing the information people most need. That might seem obvious to say, but it’s worth reflecting on these days. Many people are feeling an enormous level of confusion when making basic decisions and are struggling to understand the state of the world. They are balancing national news coverage with what they see in their own communities and wading through conflicting and contradicting versions of reality. As journalists, we can’t always share facts that bring clarity. Sometimes, our reporting reveals just how much isn’t known. But we can demonstrate that we are paying focused, prolonged attention to the questions that matter most. We can organize our pandemic coverage around ways to shed light on what is known and not known about the status of COVID-19 in your coverage area. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here. 
Station WEWS in Cleveland wrote a story directly addressing that misinformation was being spread on social media around how deaths related to COVID-19 were being reported. In the article, the newsroom tried to set the record straight by breaking down how reporters got information from the CDC and explaining how the county was tracking coronavirus cases and deaths. The station also reminded the public that neither health officials nor the media were trying to manipulate case numbers: “Despite what you may read in comments sections and on some questionably-sourced websites, health agencies are not conspiring to over-report or under-report COVID-19 deaths; their goal is to accurately report the disease’s impact on our communities.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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.
Most of us have probably been told that we are one-sided in our coverage. It’s a common complaint, and it can be a tough one to reply to. Especially when it comes to political coverage, we try hard to be fair. Yet those efforts often go unnoticed. The interesting thing is that when we consider what balanced coverage looks like, we are often thinking about it over time. We think about how we interviewed the family of the victim shot last week. So, if we talk to gun rights activists today, we do not necessarily need to hear from gun violence victims again in the same story. But, for the user, who most likely did not see the story from last week, but did see today’s, they may think we are siding with the gun rights activists because they are not hearing from all sides in one story. Despite the steps we take to produce responsible, ethical journalism every day, we’re often not getting credit for those efforts. We don’t draw enough ties between our entire body of coverage. We don’t point out the consistency in our approach, the thoughtfulness behind our decisions or the pains we take to represent multiple sides of an issue fairly. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here. 
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.
Consuming news can be overwhelming, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak when there seems to be an almost constant stream of updates from various different media outlets. The Philadelphia Inquirer addressed this directly by publishing an article about how the public can be smarter about finding trustworthy news during the pandemic. It included information from media literacy experts, a list of resources for sorting through potentially false or misleading news and strategies to help their users become smarter news consumers. “During a crisis, especially one that affects our lives and livelihoods, it makes sense that we want to know everything. But the quality of information is more important than the quantity,” the article reminded readers. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.

 

Consuming the news is an overwhelming experience. I realize that it feels like we could have said that every day since the 2016 election season, but with coronavirus added to the mix, there is legitimately a lot to know. It’s also true that paying continual attention to breaking news alerts is exhausting. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 71 percent of Americans say they need to take breaks from COVID-19 news, and 43 percent say keeping up with the news makes them feel worse emotionally. We’re also headed into a season of potentially less dramatic coronavirus updates, with new cases and deaths slowing. And as people head into summer (and the temptation to take a break from reality), the tendency to check out from news updates could be high. It’s possible, of course, to find a middle ground — one that helps us stay informed without being consumed by and alarmed by repetitive updates. We can help our communities do that. Journalists can offer a path through the news that avoids both extremes. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here. 
The Spokesman-Review took two full pages in the print paper to help give readers a better understanding of how news works. The first, “Newspapers 101,” explained the difference between a newspaper story, an editorial and a column, and how they appear differently in the Review’s daily paper. The second is a brief history of “fake news” and gave readers some basic tools for determining the credibility of news reports. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
As rumors swirled that local journalists had altered photos of beaches reopening in Florida during the coronavirus pandemic, reporter Vic Micolucci of WJXT4 in Jacksonville decided to address accusations directly in a Facebook post. Micolucci included several images and explained the differences between them based on angle, camera and lens choices. “Kindly lay off local journalists working hard to cover a situation. I can assure you almost all of us, my competitors included, have good, honest intentions of keeping you informed and safe, Micolucci wrote. “A helicopter shot looks different from a drone shot which looks different from a telephoto shot which looks different from a smart phone shot. The optics are different. The angles are different. As your car mirrors say, objects may appear further than they are. Use your best judgement.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
When accusations of local journalists altering a photo at a rally were being widely spread on Facebook, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a story that gave a step-by-step look at their reporting process and what actually happened. The story explains how the rumors started, why they gained traction and ends with a plea to the public to help the paper correct misinformation if readers see the rumors on social media. “It is unethical and a violation of Journal Sentinel policy to alter, manipulate or change a news photograph in any way beyond basic toning for reproduction,” the story states. “The Journal Sentinel asks people of goodwill to share the truth about this photo if they see false accusations being shared by friends on their Facebook feeds or other social networks.”
The San Fransisco Chronicle used a story about a lawsuit against the city to explain more of its reporting process to their readers. The paper included a box in the story that gave readers insight into how the reporting was done, including information on how many people the reporter interviewed and reminding users about the extent of the paper’s past coverage on the topic. “Reporter Carolyn Said has interviewed more than two dozen taxi drivers over the past few years about their industry’s implosion since the advent of Uber and Lyft and their struggles to pay their medallion loans. She has written several articles about this issue, also including perspectives from the Municipal Transportation Agency and the city’s taxi companies,” the box read. “Last week she met with two attorneys for the San Francisco Federal Credit Union who provided hundreds of pages of court filings from both the credit union and the city, flagging several items that they viewed as ‘smoking guns.'”
After publishing an investigative story about how certain businesses were getting tax breaks from the city, the Malheur Enterprise publisher and editor Les Zaitz wrote a column giving readers a step-by-step look at how journalist Pat Caldwell reported the story. Zaitz included information like how the reporter followed up with sources, how he verified information and how he obtained public records. “By sharing the background of how this story evolved, I hope you’ll understand the great care taken to be fair, to get the facts, and tell you something important about your local government,” Zaitz wrote. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Publisher and editor of the Malheur Enterprise Les Zaitz used research about the diminishing levels of public trust in media to remind readers of the organization’s mission and commitment to fact-based, trustworthy reporting. “The Enterprise operates on principles the staff lives by daily. We make those principles public. We are driven to earn and keep your trust. We are determined to scrub even the appearance of bias out of our reports. We are determined to always serve the citizen, not favor those in power – or fear them,” Zaitz writes. “As journalists, we will do all we can to earn your trust. At the same time, consider giving that trust-based not on general perceptions of the media but on our performance.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.

 

The Globe and Mail added expandable, in-article explainers on their website to provide more information and context about their reporting process within the stories themselves. “The transparency aspect of the feature sheds light on newsroom conversations happening at the Globe around what the reporting standards and guidelines are,” an article sharing the changes said. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
After facing accusations that a photojournalist altered a photo that showed a closed beach packed with people during the coronavirus pandemic, the Caller-Times wrote a column exculpating the photo. “We often face criticism and recognize people are entitled to opinions about what and how we cover the news. It comes with the territory. It also doesn’t change the facts. That’s why we typically let it roll on by and focus on what’s important: informing our community,” editor Mary Ann Cavazos Beckett wrote. “But when several people continued to spread false information about how and when the beach photo was taken it became concerning.” Beckett also explained and linked to the paper’s ethics policy and mission statement, reminding their audience of the paper’s commitment to accuracy and the community.
The Toronto Star updated how it displayed its opinion content in order to help readers distinguish opinion stories from news. The changes included clearer labels as well as a glossary that defined the different types of analysis and columns their audience would see in their editorial pages. “We are trying to help be a place that can help cut through the confusion and inaccuracies,” Star editor Irene Gentle wrote. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do. 
NPR included a disclaimer on a breaking news story that reminded their audience it was an ongoing story and that some information may change as the situation unfolded. “This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong,” the note read. “We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
The editor of the Globe and Mail, Sylvia Stead, wrote a column explaining the paper’s policy for using anonymous sources. The column included a list of recent stories where their journalists used anonymous sources, why they felt it was necessary to include unnamed sources, and also linked to their code of conduct. “These days when some are quick to blame the messenger and cry ‘fake’ when it’s something they don’t like, it is incumbent on the media to use anonymous sources with care and to be as open as possible about that person’s background and expertise,” Stead wrote. “As the code says, the point of anonymous sources is to ‘get the fullest story possible, not to let people dodge accountability or take anonymous potshots.’” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do. 
The Globe and Mail posted its Editorial Code of Conduct on its website, letting its audience know about their newsroom’s mission and goals. The code of conduct included information on many different aspects of the newsroom’s standards, including its policy for deleting comments and how their journalists fact-checked stories. “The Globe and Mail’s long-standing tradition of journalistic integrity and credibility
 is essential to its reputation as Canada’s most trusted news source,” the code of conduct reads. “This reputation 
is rooted in the conduct of the editorial staff. Unless all employees strive for the highest standards of journalistic integrity, we cannot hope to sustain the trust we have inspired in our readers for generations.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
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 Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times wrote an article explaining who they are, why they do what they do, and what the newsroom’s decision-making process is. The article included information like the newsroom’s mission, how the newsroom decides what to cover, how they use content from wire services, its process for handling corrections, as well as how the public can submit news tips. By putting all the information into one place they’ll be able to easily share the link when questions come up in the future.
It can feel like a luxury to pause and read a study about the news business. Who has the time? Yet researchers can tell us quite a bit about how news consumers behave, what makes them pay for news, what they want from news and what makes them trust and distrust journalism. For example: Nearly half of Americans — 44 percent — believe the press invents negative stories about the president, including 74 percent of Republicans. (Poynter Media Trust Survey 2017) Fewer than half of Americans (44%) say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively. (Knight Foundation/Gallup, 2018) The majority of Americans think local news organizations are doing very well or somewhat well financially. But if the financial state is explained to them, they say they are more likely to support their local news organizations. (Knight Foundation/Gallup, 2019) Only 24% or Americans say they believe the news media in general is “moral.” But that number more than doubles (53%) when people are asked about the media they use most often. (API/AP-NORC, 2017) More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
When a reporter at the Burlington Free Press used an unnamed source in a story, an editor at the paper, April McCullum, wrote a column explaining the paper’s policy and why they OK’d the use of the unnamed source. McCullum listed the factors that went into the decision-making process and linked to the paper’s ethics policy. “This is not something we do lightly, ” she wrote. “After much discussion inside the newsroom, we decided that the value to the reader of this family’s perspective warranted agreeing to their request.”
Instead of leaving it up to the audience to make assumptions, the Michigan Daily used an editor’s note to explain why a story included anonymous sources. It defined what an anonymous source is, why the sources didn’t want to be identified and then linked to the newsroom’s ethics policy. “In accordance with our ethics policy (which can be found in full in our bylaws), the reporter of this article and two editors have seen the names and fraternity affiliations of our sources, as well as the evidence they provided The Daily,” the editor’s note read.
Science News created an FAQ page sharing how they report on science stories, explaining everything from their sourcing process to how they fact-check stories. “Our standards and processes are essential to what we do, and we believe they should be as transparent and accessible as the stories we publish,” the FAQ states. The top of the page also invites readers into the conversation by sharing how they can reach out with questions or suggestions.
Annenberg Media is continuing its video series “Full Disclosure” on TikTok. The series explains newsroom processes, like why reporters don’t use the Oxford comma or use hyphens when identifying people’s origins. These videos help give the audience insight into the newsroom’s decision-making process while also showing the reporters’ personalities.
There are sadly a lot of ways for journalists to think they’re explaining themselves while still actually being quite obtuse. We tend to use coded language that doesn’t mean much to our audiences. One of those ways is with disclosure statements when explaining potential conflicts of interest. We often acknowledge the issue without explaining what it really means or how we’re working to make sure it doesn’t affect the integrity of our work. 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.

 

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
Not being able to tell opinion content from news content is a frustration a lot of news consumers have. And, in some cases, that’s for good reason. Across platforms, news organizations don’t always make it easy. We have to make sure we are labeling our content and using words the public will understand. And the words “editorial” and “op-ed” do not necessarily help our situation. We know what those words mean, but not all users do. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
We’re learning a lot at Trusting News about how news consumers decide what to trust and what journalists can do in response. Lynn and I could (and often do) talk all day about it! (It’s nerdy, we know.) But with the launch this week of a revamped TrustingNews.org, we’re hoping to give you a simple on-ramp to discussing trust in your newsroom. To read more from this edition click here and you can sign up for the weekly “Trust Tips” newsletter by clicking here.
When faced with suicide, journalists have decisions to make — about whether to publish, but also about things like whether to use names and photos, what details to include and what words to use. Those decisions often take into account whether the death was in their own community or happened elsewhere, whether it happened publicly or privately, and whether the person involved was a public or private figure. It’s important not to forget, however, that newsroom decisions and policies are largely invisible to audiences. To read more from this edition click here and you can sign up for the weekly “Trust Tips” newsletter by clicking here.
A new neighbor once said that until she got to know me a bit, she always thought of journalists as ambulance chasers. But she then — with no irony — told me how excited she was about a story she’d seen in the arts section that weekend that had allowed her to make a meaningful connection with a like-minded person. It didn’t register with her that local journalists had concretely enriched her life just in the last few days. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
A journalist at the Community Impact newspaper group used Twitter to talk about the news organization's mission and explain journalism. The journalist used a personal account to share the information in a Twitter thread. He discussed how they work to be accurate in their reporting and offered to answer any questions people have about the news organization's coverage or journalism in general.
A journalist at the Community Impact newspaper group used Twitter to talk about the news organization’s mission and explain journalism. The journalist used a personal account to share the information in a Twitter thread. He discussed how they work to be accurate in their reporting and offered to answer any questions people have about the news organization’s coverage or journalism in general.
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 Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining the difference between news, opinion and analysis in their paper. The discussed how they define each title and how users can tell them apart.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining the difference between news, opinion and analysis in their paper. The discussed how they define each title and how users can tell them apart.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how it writes headlines. The piece discussed how digital and print headlines may be different sometimes and explaining their approach to subject.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining how it writes headlines. The piece discussed how digital and print headlines may be different sometimes and explaining their approach to subject.
During Sunshine Week, The Virginian-Pilot wrote about how public information laws and FOIA work. They talked about how anyone can request information and provided a step-by-step guide waling people through the process. Sharing this information allowed them a chance to talk more about their commitment to the community and show users they are here to help.
During Sunshine Week, The Virginian-Pilot wrote about how public information laws and FOIA work. They talked about how anyone can request information and provided a step-by-step guide waling people through the process. Sharing this information allowed them a chance to talk more about their commitment to the community and show users they are here to help.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining what an anonymous source is and isn't. They discussed when they may use anonymous sources and also explained why you will not see them use them that often.
The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story explaining what an anonymous source is and isn’t. They discussed when they may use anonymous sources and also explained why you will not see them use them that often.
As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether "analysis" is news or opinion.
As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether “analysis” is news or opinion.
Internal meetings helped the staff at The Virginian-Pilot reach an agreement on what terms like exclusive, breaking, developing or enterprise mean when it comes to categorizing stories. Once they came to an agreement a glossary was published online to explain these terms to readers. As a bonus, the news organization said the labeling effort helped them better track performance on these stories, too.
Internal meetings helped the staff at The Virginian-Pilot reach an agreement on what terms like exclusive, breaking, developing or enterprise mean when it comes to categorizing stories. Once they came to an agreement a glossary was published online to explain these terms to readers. As a bonus, the news organization said the labeling effort helped them better track performance on these stories, too.