Trust Tips newsletter

More Our Trust Tips newsletter provides one quick, actionable tip for earning trust each Tuesday. Here are some highlights from our archive, sorted by topic area. See all of the past Trust Tip editions here


Start here

Explain how you decide which stories to cover

Ask how you could better earn trust 

Use comments to explain and defend your work

Address “fake news” complaints

Let’s talk about how (or if) we edit photos

Defend yourself without sounding defensive

Clearly label opinion content

If you strive for fairness, tell your audience

Equip journalists to respond to attacks on their credibility 

Let’s talk about the 90 percent of Republicans who don’t trust us

Use research to persuade colleagues to invest in earning trust


Create journalism that fuels pluralism

Assess the role of wire news in your local journalism

Look for ways to be less polarizing and avoid generalizations 

Consider what “fairness” actually looks like in stories 

Ask if you have any veterans in your newsroom. Here’s why.

Explain your coverage goals with hot-button issues

Routinely seek (and listen to) community feedback

Explain your mistakes and your commitment to accuracy

Consider these two ways to depoliticize your coverage 

 Please stop letting users be confused about opinion content

Ethics, accuracy and fairness 

Have a clear policy about unpublishing stories

Be clear about where photos and videos come from

Create an ethics landing page

Acknowledge when you mess up

Acknowledge what you don’t know

Share your ethics and corrections policy

If you get something wrong, explain yourself 

If you publish a graphic image, explain why

Explain how and why you protect people’s privacy 

Explain how you cover breaking news

Explain how you cover suicide

Explain your use of anonymous sources

Explain how breaking news works  

When you stop covering something, tell your audience  

Telling your story

Reporters, explain your purpose 

Share your history, mission and values

Make it clear you report on solutions, not just problems

Use staff bios as a tool for building trust

Work with customer service teams to build audience trust 

Be ready to discuss content you don’t produce 

Show how your staff covers big news

Create a handout about your newsroom

Use plain English in your disclosure statements

Let’s create an effective “About Us” page

Talk about the cost of journalism

Talk about your ownership

Explain your role as a watchdog

Explain your word choices

Show the breadth of your journalism 


Tell your audience that COVID-19 information might change

Do not neglect basic but vital pandemic information

With coronavirus coverage, make your purpose clear 

Engage on social media during COVID-19

Explain how coronavirus coverage affects your bottom line

Don’t let political squabbles dominate COVID-19 coverage

Disclose stimulus funds and explain the ethics involved

Transparency strategies

Use labels for investigations, fact-checks and feature stories 

Using major events to build trust

Explain the ways you tried to reach a source

Build transparency into investigative pieces

Here’s how to start writing trust language into stories  

Transparency sidebars can be quick and easy

Build trust with sources through clear expectations

Use direct language


Elections and politics

Learn how people perceive your election reporting

Explain election basics 

Explain what you DON’T cover

Explain any changes to national political coverage

Earn trust in your political coverage year round

Here’s how WITF is inserting accountability reminders into daily stories

Leave unnecessary politics out of stories

If your coverage is nonpartisan, explain and defend that 

Create an FAQ about your elections coverage

Do you endorse candidates? Either way, explain why

Explain how you call who won an election 

Provide support (not anxiety) during elections

Explain how political advertising works

Help your audience consume polls responsibly  



Why engagement is key to earning trust 

Make your contact information truly accessible

Consider technology and product solutions to help you build trust

Scale engagement efforts by being efficient

Focus on the audience members who *aren’t* yelling at you

Ask these questions of BIPOC communities to gauge trust  

Use social media profiles to communicate your trustworthiness 

Turn negative feedback into trust-building opportunities

Explain why a story is being done and encourage audience participation

Create a “Contact Us” page

Ask for feedback regularly

Invest in getting buy-in from your newsroom


Opinion coverage

Explain who writes an editorial (and who doesn’t)

Explain where opinion content comes from

Explain that some journalists share opinions on purpose

News literacy

Help your audience navigate the news

Help your users be smarter news consumers

Build news literacy into your journalism

Take extra care when covering conspiracy theories (and tell your audience)

Tell your audience you won’t tolerate misinformation






































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