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.”
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.
KPRC in Houston created online profiles for each of the station’s reporters. Each bio included the reporter’s credentials, as well as highlighted their personality, inviting people to get to know them as real people. Publishing short bios like these is an easy way to create trust and build credibility with your audience. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.

 

Isn’t it frustrating to watch news outlets get something dead wrong that you worked hard to get right? It’s important that we correct misinformation, especially on topics we have expertise in. It’s something we can do without spitefulness, and often without even naming the journalists who are at fault. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
If a member of your community looks you up on social media, what will they learn about what you stand for and value?
Something we are learning at Trusting News is that users make a lot of assumptions about who we are, what we do and why we do things. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
How do you choose which stories to cover? That question is high on the list of what your audience wants to know about your work. And as we wrote in an earlier newsletter, without clear answers from you, they’re making plenty of assumptions.
Rather than letting your audience guess about your agenda, try telling them what you’re trying to accomplish. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
If one of your journalists writes a book about a story they have been working on or produces a documentary, highlight it. Two of WCPO's journalists were involved in publishing a book about "Fiona the Hippo," a local zoo animal that has gone viral. The news organization held a book signing and invited their users. More than 100 people attended the event.
If one of your journalists writes a book about a story they have been working on or produces a documentary, highlight it. Two of WCPO’s journalists were involved in publishing a book about “Fiona the Hippo,” a local zoo animal that has gone viral. The news organization held a book signing and invited their users. More than 100 people attended the event.
When hosting a debate, Annenberg Media had to decided who was going to moderate the conversation. The decision was not taken lightly and there was a lot of thought that went into the process. They wanted to make sure they were being fair, unbiased and thinking about diversity while selecting a moderator. To explain their decision process and how they chose a debate moderator, they created a video for Instagram Stories and YouTube.
When hosting a debate, Annenberg Media had to decided who was going to moderate the conversation. The decision was not taken lightly and there was a lot of thought that went into the process. They wanted to make sure they were being fair, unbiased and thinking about diversity while selecting a moderator. To explain their decision process and how they chose a debate moderator, they created a video for Instagram Stories and YouTube.
Behind-the-scenes roles like designers and editors aren't in the public eye as much as reporters--but you can still highlight the many skilled staffers who keep your news operation running. The Jefferson City News Tribune did just that by announcing the promotion of their design editor and sharing her credentials in a link.
Behind-the-scenes roles like designers and editors aren’t in the public eye as much as reporters–but you can still highlight the many skilled staffers who keep your news operation running. The Jefferson City News Tribune did just that by announcing the promotion of their design editor and sharing her credentials in a link.
Taking readers behind the scenes can help with so many things: Showing a reporter's personality and motivations, explaining how a story comes together, and providing context. Instagram Stories gave a Discourse reporter an easy and personable way to share her thoughts during a reporting trip.
Taking readers behind the scenes can help with so many things: Showing a reporter’s personality and motivations, explaining how a story comes together, and providing context. Instagram Stories gave a Discourse reporter an easy and personable way to share her thoughts during a reporting trip.
Are your reporters getting recognized in the journalism world? If so, highlight this good work for your local readers. When a reporter's story was featured by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, the Virginian-Pilot highlighted the reporter's work and the real-world impact that resulted from the investigative story.
Are your reporters getting recognized in the journalism world? If so, highlight this good work for your local readers. When a reporter’s story was featured by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, the Virginian-Pilot highlighted the reporter’s work and the real-world impact that resulted from the investigative story.
The Virginian Pilot highlighted their journalists' credentials by having them update their online profiles. Information about their journalism experience can create trust and build credibility, while some fun facts show a more human, relateable side. This project would be easy to replicate, so take a moment to check: Do your reporters have bios? And would a reader be able to easily find them?
The Virginian Pilot highlighted their journalists’ credentials by having them update their online profiles. Information about their journalism experience can create trust and build credibility, while some fun facts show a more human, relateable side. This project would be easy to replicate, so take a moment to check: Do your reporters have bios? And would a reader be able to easily find them?
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter's background that put her thoughts in context.
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter’s background that put her thoughts in context.
Screenshot of the Christian Science Monitor Instagram Story where they interview their global affairs correspondent.
The Christian Science Monitor sat down with their global affairs correspondent to answer questions ranging from fun (What is your favorite meal?) to powerful (What makes your reporting distinct?). The answers were posted to Instagram Stories which gave them room to experiment and helped them reach a younger audience.
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.