While covering recent COVID-19 numbers in their community, the News Tribune posted that the local health department “caved” in releasing numbers related to coronavirus spread. When one of the commenters pointed out that the language sounded biased, editor Gary Castor took the time to respond on Facebook, publically acknowledging it might not have been the best wording: “You are absolutely correct; it was a poor choice of words. I did not see the post before it was sent to Facebook, but after seeing it in my feed, I asked that the verb be changed. The story has since been changed to say the department relented to the repeated requests of the city.”
As schools in Philadelphia were having discussions about opening in the fall amidst the coronavirus outbreak, Chalkbeat reached out to its audience to get their feedback on the issue. “Chalkbeat wants to gain perspective from parents, students, and school staff. Tell us your feedback, concerns, and lingering questions below,” the post read.
After WCPO decided not to disclose the identity of a student who hosted a party despite being diagnosed with COVID-19, the station’s content manager Ted Wilson wrote a column explaining their decision and the journalism ethics associated with it. “Often, the journalist’s job is not just to report the facts but also to balance the impact of their reporting among all the stakeholders in a story,” Wilson wrote. “In this case, WCPO 9 News chose to report what happened while trying to respect the privacy rights of the accused.”
During major news situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy for audiences to feel overwhelmed and then tune out. The LAist countered this by providing one spot with contextualized information and answers to basic questions about the pandemic all in one place, making it so users don’t have to sift through a bunch of different updates to find the most relevant and important information.
Journalists like certainty. They like to ask questions and provide answers. But what should they do about the questions they can’t get answers to — either because the information isn’t available or because the questions are unanswerable? A common practice is to address what is known and leave out what is unknown. But that’s not always the best option when it comes to building trust. We know that when news consumers don’t understand the choices journalists make, the conclusions they reach are often not flattering ones. They’re not giving us the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they sometimes assume an agenda that involves highlighting some facts or story angles and purposefully suppressing others. Think about all the times you see comments like, “of course they won’t tell us that part of the story …” or “they must not want us to know …” By being upfront about things that aren’t yet known, journalists can remove some of that speculation and assure their audiences they’re continuing to ask the important questions. This is especially important when covering big, controversial stories — like elections, public health crises and protests. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.


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.
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.


When faced with major advertising dollars lost during the coronavirus pandemic, journalists at The Day decided they needed to be direct with their audience and explain their bottom line. The newsroom ended up implementing multiple new strategies to share their mission and need for support from their community, which included additional subscription asks when they made COVID-19 stories free and personalized video pleas from reporters. Here’s what multimedia director Peter Huoppi had to say: “We knew the coronavirus was going to affect our company, but we didn’t realize how quickly things would change and how profound the effects would be. As the weeks went by, we realized we had to step outside of our comfort zone and talk more directly about our bottom line … It’s resulted in more money and reader subscriptions, which will allow us to continue to report on important issues and keep people informed.”
VOX media included a note at the bottom of a story related to the coronavirus outbreak that talked about the organization’s values and then tied it to an ask for user’s support. “Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn,” the editor’s note says. “Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
When thinking about what it takes to build trust, it’s important to remember that trust involves feelings, not just facts. It involves affective trust, not just cognitive trust. You can’t simply persuade someone to trust you. They have to believe it. Think about who you trust. They are probably people you’ve had an opportunity to get to know and develop a relationship with, right? The same is true when it comes to trust in news organizations. People trust who and what they know and have relationships with. One part of building a relationship is getting to know each other. You can do this in conversations with your audience. (It’s important to invest in interactions.) You can also do this by sharing your brand’s values and stories, and by relating to what your community is feeling and going through.
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. 
Like many businesses, news organizations are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial creativity and cutbacks might be required, and new revenue streams can help keep the lights on. But news organizations are in a situation that other businesses are not: While they might need and qualify for outside financial support, they are also expected to fairly cover the business impact of the virus. As a journalist in a newsroom, you likely don’t have control over whether your newsroom accepts a loan from the government or applies for grants from a foundation or company. What journalists CAN control (or at least advocate for) is being transparent about any funds received. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here. 
The Day released a series of short videos of newsroom staff talking about their work and sharing how they need their community’s support during the coronavirus outbreak. “If you are someone who has found our coverage interesting, information, sometimes uplifting … if you have benefited from our articles, please consider supporting us by subscribing,” reporter Erica Moser said in one of the videos.
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.
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.”
Newsrooms hear a lot of accusations that they use photos and videos to misrepresent or even manipulate reality. We’ve heard from journalists lately wondering whether it’s best to ignore or respond to accusations of “fake news” and photo or video manipulation. We’ve also seen confusion and misassumptions in our own social networks and in comments on news stories when it comes to telling what’s real. Here’s what we at Trusting News want newsrooms to remember in those situations: It’s fair for news consumers to be skeptical. They shouldn’t automatically believe what they see, and it’s genuinely tricky to know which news brands are trustworthy. (Some aren’t.) No one but you is going to explain what makes your own work credible. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
Journalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed their support of the community by making a video to thank the workers who are helping during the coronavirus outbreak and don’t have the option of staying home. “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution would like to thank all of the people who aren’t able to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. We appreciate their sacrifice,” the video reads.
In partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network, the Atlantic-Journal constitution shifted the focus of its editorial pages to be more solutions-based during the coronavirus outbreak. Managing editor Mark Waligore explained the change in a column, saying that with politics becoming more polarized, the paper wanted to shift its focus on solving community problems during the pandemic. “Given all that has happened, we believe the changes we’ve made to the Opinion pages are the right approach at the right time,” Waligore wrote. “We hope they can serve as a gathering spot, of sorts. A place to share your personal stories. A place to swap ideas and look for answers. A place that brings us together, rather than divides us.”
After intially lifting the paywall on all coronavirus-related stories, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram decided that as the pandemic went on, the newsroom would start putting some additional stories behind the paywall. Editor Steve Coffman wrote a column explaining the change in clear, straightforward language that told readers about the paper’s funding model while also expressing the paper’s need for support: “This is a matter of survival for the Star-Telegram and other local newspapers,” Coffman wrote. “We have taken a significant revenue hit due to the coronavirus on the advertising side, which is reflective of the struggles local businesses face.”
In breaking news situations, we all know that the information we are reporting is the most accurate and best information we have at that moment. But, have we helped our audience navigate fast-changing information? At Trusting News, we have shared with you how some newsrooms try to make this point clear in their reporting. While covering COVID-19, probably the biggest breaking news story of our time, we should all be working to make sure our users are alerted to this fact. We should also be working to help them understand why this is the case. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
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 NYTimes added an editor’s note to the top of the story about parenting during the coronavirus pandemic to explain how the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might change. “As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, we’re working to answer the questions on many parents’ minds. This is a fast-moving situation, so some information may be outdated,” the note read. “For the latest updates, read The New York Times’s live coronavirus coverage here.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
After getting questions and complaints from readers, WEWS used clear language to explain to viewers why the numbers of people who recover from COVID-19 aren’t shared alongside the death counts in Ohio. Digital producer Ian Cross wrote a column to explain: “So to answer the question: There is no conspiracy by the media to suppress good news about the coronavirus, as some have suggested. It’s a simple matter of available data.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
With COVID-19 consuming daily life, it could seem strange to see a non-pandemic related investigation published by a news organization. NPR addressed this situation directly when publishing an investigation into recycling. They adding an editor’s note at the top of the story that read, “NPR will be publishing stories from this investigative series in the weeks ahead, even as we focus our current coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. But here’s a look at some of our key findings. You can watch the full documentary film from this investigation on the PBS series Frontline.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
News station KVRR and the North Dakota Department of Health teamed up to bring a health expert on a Facebook Live to answer user questions about the COVID-19 outbreak. The station then featured parts of the Facebook Live in their newscast. During the newscast, the anchors acknowledged that many people were asking questions on their social media page about the pandemic, and then let users know they were attempting to answer those questions by bringing the expert back to do a Q&A. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
Buzzfeed used an editor’s note at the top of their stories related to the coronavirus pandemic to remind their readers of their mission of providing trustworthy news. They also used the opportunity to ask users for their audience’s financial support. “The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus,” the note read. “To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.


Several things are true at this strange moment. Our lives feel upside down. People are worried about their health and have a heightened desire to stay informed. The economy is in turmoil. Journalists are stressed and pressed for time (or furloughed or laid off). The financial part of the news business is in a weakened state just when people need journalism most. All of this happening in an information landscape that is complicated and full of pitfalls for both news consumers and journalists. People are skeptical of journalism — sometimes for fair reasons and sometimes based on misassumptions and ignorance about how journalism operates. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
The editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Kevin Riley wrote a column explaining how the news organization’s coverage had changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. “This situation has inspired some important changes at the AJC. I hope you’ve noticed those in the newspaper and at our website. And we, like so many of you, have had to change the way we work.” They highlighted their mission statement, pointed out how their print paper has changed to include more puzzles, a coloring page and a guide to help readers make the most of their time at home.
A month ago, the 2020 election season was consuming national and local news coverage. And now? While the campaigns are continuing and the election is just a little over six months away, the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States has changed that focus. These days, everyone is just trying to survive. They are depending on their local news organizations to help them navigate the uncertainty they see all around them. People want questions answered about their very livelihood. They are losing their jobs and want to know where to go for help with car and rent payments, unemployment and groceries. And journalists (like you) are stepping up. You’re providing them the information they need, and you’re doing it while your own lives have also been turned upside down. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
CalMatters engaged with their audience during the coronavirus pandemic by asking readers for their questions through a Google form at the bottom of their stories. They asked: “What questions do you have about the state of California’s response to the coronavirus pandemic?” The newsroom also linked to an FAQ where they compiled answers to previous reader questions about the virus, showing readers they valued their questions and feedback enough to follow up.
Both the editor and publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a column sharing their approach of how the newsroom would be covering the coronavirus pandemic. The columns explained how jobs were changing and adapting to keep employees safe, and reminded the audience of their commitment to fact-based reporting. “A big part of our job during these uncertain times is to provide you with useful and accurate information so that you can reduce your risk and protect others. We hope to arm you with fact-based information so that you can best protect yourselves and those around you.”
WCPO launched a new series called Act of Kindness to highlight positive things happening in Cincinnati during the coronavirus outbreak. “When I am out speaking in the community, I tell people every corner of our community is neither all bad or all good. Our job as journalists is to paint that picture accurately,” news director Mike Canon wrote when speaking to the station’s breadth of coverage. “That remains true when it comes to the impact of COVID-19. There’s a lot of darkness out there. But there are also everyday people doing heroic things to help their neighbors. We have a responsibility to tell you those stories — in addition to the stories about the virus’s impact.” By highlighting the positive stories they cover, it helps the station remind their audience that they do more than just report on negative news.
Tell your audience directly that your news outlet doesn’t celebrate covering big crises like the COVID-19 outbreak. Editor of the Arizona Daily Star, Jill Jordan Spitz, did this through a column where she reminded their audience that the journalists were dedicated to covering the coronavirus outbreak because of their commitment to serving the city. “No, we are not loving this,” Spitz writes. “But covering events that hurt our community does not make us happy — and contrary to what some people seem to believe, it does not make us money.” The column went onto explain how the virus spread has affected the paper’s bottom line and contrary to some public belief, was actually decreasing funding for the paper.
The editor at the Coloradoan Eric Larsen wrote a column directly talking to readers about how the newsroom is responding to coronavirus — and how much they need their community’s support. “Like you, we’re weary from the myriad changes the last two weeks have brought. But our dedication to serve Fort Collins and our surrounding communities is steadfast. We will not waver,” Larsen wrote. “…here’s a quick look at the steps we’re taking to ensure Fort Collins and Northern Colorado stay informed and healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press started a series called The Helper where they highlight people and groups who are stepping up to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. By reporting on positive news that uplifts the community, it shows the organization’s breadth of work, as well as their commitment to their community.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, The Tennessean’s opinion editor David Plazas started a video series to continue bringing interviews and insights from experts to the public. Their goal is to interview some of the people who write guest opinion stories for them on a weekly basis. “As an opinion and engagement editor, I typically am out and about in the community, attending events and meetings, and moderating debates and discussions. Self-quarantining in the age of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has made that impossible for the time being. That is why on Tuesday we launched the new Tennessee Voices videocast,” the story reads. “Our opinion team continues to publish guest columns daily by thoughtful innovators, creators and leaders in the community to keep readers connected.”
The Daily Telegraph wrote an article explaining that the World Health Organization had deemed it safe to touch newspapers. “Your health and wellbeing are of the utmost importance to us, and if you are wondering if it is safe to get the paper delivered, the answer is yes,” the article stated. “According to the World Health Organization, it has been deemed safe to receive packages such as newspapers, even from areas that have reported cases of COVID-19.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do
At the bottom of a story related to the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian included an editor’s note about how they are covering the virus outbreak. In the note, they explained their mission and commitment to factual, accurate reporting. “We have upheld our editorial independence in the face of the disintegration of traditional media – with social platforms giving rise to misinformation, the seemingly unstoppable rise of big tech and independent voices being squashed by commercial ownership,” the note read. “Our journalism is free from commercial and political bias – never influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This makes us different. It means we can challenge the powerful without fear and give a voice to those less heard.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
The editor of the Bozeman Chronicle Nick Ehli wrote a column explaining how economic changes during the coronavirus outbreak were impacting the paper’s bottom line. He explained in a transparent and straightforward tone that the paper had lost a significant amount of advertising money and how that was affecting the hours his reporters were able to work. “…out parent company, the Adams Publishing Group, this week ordered a top-to-bottom partial furlough for all of its employees. This means that — for the time being — our journalists will be working fewer hours than they were before. I’d like to tell you that you won’t notice any changes, that we will be able to cover our community with the same vigor you’ve hopefully come to expect, but that simply wouldn’t be true,” Ehli wrote. “Reporters and photographers working 30 hours a week instead of 40 will produce less content. There is no way around that fact.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
WPCO anchor Evan Millward produced an on-air story explaining how the station was adapting to producing news remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. He went into detail describing how the different positions in the newsroom were modifying their jobs and let viewers know why some of their daily news segments might look different now that everyone was working from home. “It doesn’t matter if we’re working from our newsroom – or from our kitchen counter,” Millward wrote. “We live in and love Greater Cincinnati, too. We’ve been working for you for years – and no pandemic will stop that commitment.”
Food editor Ligaya Figueras at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote an article explaining how their food coverage would be changing amid the coronavirus outbreak. Figueras writes: “In this time of uncertainty, one thing is certain: We all still need to eat … The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s food and dining team is committed to keeping you as informed as possible so that you can feed your families safely, and enjoy your time together at the stove and table.” The column goes onto explain how the paper would be dropping restaurant reviews, shifting coverage to restaurants that are remaining open and highlighting recipes readers could cook from home.
In a story highlighting “fake news” about animals amid the coronavirus outbreak, National Geographic included an editor’s note that alerted readers to online tools they could use to help verify if photos are real or have been altered. “If a post seems too good to be true, check social media to see if anyone else has already debunked it,” the note read. By telling readers how to spot altered photos, they are establishing that they don’t support “fake” news and are actively trying to quell misinformation. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
We all know how much information is out there right now because a lot of you are working around the clock to produce it. COVID-19 is a breaking news story that has continued and will continue for weeks and months. But just as you are working to produce credible stories that can help save lives, there are other people sharing links that are totally false or contain misinformation. You may think, what does the misinformation have to do with me and my journalism? What should you do about it? Well, you could ignore it (though at Trusting News we don’t recommend that and explain why here). But what if the misinformation is being shared in a Facebook group you manage, underneath a link you posted on social media or on comments on your news story? More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
During hectic breaking news coverage, social media is often a go-to place for the latest information, live streams, questions, answers and, unfortunately, misinformation. At Trusting News, we always encourage newsrooms to engage with their users, but now it may be more important than ever. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.
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 Columbus Dispatch shared their mission and dedication to accurate, fair reporting by adding an editor’s note at the top of their coverage related to the COVID-19 outbreak. “With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to give you the information you need. We want to keep things in context in order to help you make decisions,” the note read. “You can find all of our stories here. These are being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing…” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
WPCO in Cincinnati included an editor’s note at the top of their Coronavirus coverage that shared their mission and goals for reporting on this pandemic with their audience. “With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need,” the note read. “We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.”
In a community Facebook group run by the Coloradoan, the newsroom told users they would not be allowing posts that included speculation or misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will be removing posts that are purely speculation regarding coronavirus,” the post read. “These unconfirmed bits of information can add to public panic and hysteria. We want folks to have confirmed, reliable information. If you have a news tip or are hearing something you’d like to share, send us a private message.” By moderating comments for misinformation, it shows your audience you’re committed to accuracy and getting the facts straight.
The Day in Connecticut made a video explaining why they were offering all their coronavirus coverage for free while reminding the audience of the need for their support. “While we’re providing free access to these articles, they are not free to produce,” the video stated. “The newsroom is working long hours to provide the news and information you need during this health emergency.” The video went on to include directions on how to subscribe to the paper, as well as explained some of the benefits of subscribing, like being able to access the daily E-Newspaper.
Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Audrey Cooper wrote a column telling their audience that while their journalists and entire news operation were working remotely, they were still just as committed to providing accurate, timely news to the community. “It’s critical that we be there to make sure that you have the information you need to make decisions about what’s right for your family and for your community, ” Cooper wrote. “Whether we are recording podcasts from under a sound-dulling blanket fort (yes, I did that), conducting interviews in a child’s closet among stuffed animals (as reporter Matthias Gafni did), or updating the live updates story while batting away a persistent cat (thanks, Lauren Hernández), we will do everything we can to ensure we provide you with the news now and well after the crisis is over.”
The Coloradoan sent a newsletter to subscribers sharing their plan for how they were going to keep the community informed during the coronavirus pandemic. “This pandemic is a public health crisis the likes of which many of our journalists have never covered before,” content strategies Jennifer Hefty wrote. “We are learning as we go and trying our best to provide critical information without spreading panic.”
Jareen Imam, the Director of Social Newsgathering at NBC, shared a screenshot of their team meeting remotely during the coronavirus outbreak and prompted users to submit their questions. “How are you being affected by COVID-19? Whether you’re a healthcare worker on the frontlines, a parent working from home, a recovering patient or a furloughed worker, @NBCNews Social Newsgathering team is working 24/7 to hear your stories and tips,” the Tweet read. Not only does this build transparency, but it also reminds users that their journalists are real people who are part of their local communities, weathering this storm along with them.
The San Fransisco Chronicle reminded their readers of their commitment to serving their community by adding a bot, called the assignment editor, to their home page and some stories. The bot allows users to ask questions related to the Coronavirus pandemic. “Life in the Bay Area has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic,” the prompt reads. “Tell us the questions you want answered, and the issues you think we should be investigating.” The team can then use the responses to write stories or use the information to make coverage decisions.
WCPO in Cinncinati shared part of their reporting process with their audience by adding a line in their on-air coverage about how they were using video shot by the restaurant because they could not go inside due to COVID-19. “We can’t bring you this story the traditional way we would,” the anchor said. “La Soupe has asked us to stay out of their kitchen for obvious reasons, but they did offer to shoot video of food prep themselves, and that’s what you’ll be seeing in this story.” The explanation flowed well with the story and did not disrupt the storytelling.
The Christian Science Monitor reminded their audience of their mission during the coronavirus outbreak by asking for feedback in a simple Tweet that read: “The Christian Science Monitor is committed to covering the coronavirus pandemic. How are we doing? What coverage do you need right now? Let us know.”
WCPO in Cinncinati wrote a column explaining how they were adjusting their programming so their journalists could practice safe social distancing. The column made clear how it would affect the work of their employees and the programming the audience would see. “Some of these changes might impact the quality of our newscasts or online news sources. They might not look as polished as they normally do, and we would always rather interview people in person,” the column read. “But we are willing to make these sacrifices because we feel strongly that we need to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep our employees healthy.”
WMAR-2 News in Baltimore wrote a story explaining how their programming would change to keep their newsroom and journalists safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. The station ended the column by asking for questions and news tips from the audience, saying: “We can’t do this without you. Please tell us what is going on in your community.” This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.
WEWS in Cleveland posted a column sharing why the station was focusing so much of its coverage on the coronavirus spread and addressed accusations from readers that they were stoking panic and fear in the community. “Balancing our coronavirus coverage in a way that attempts to reflect reality is something we’ve been discussing over here a lot. We’re quite aware that there’s a way to report this story that makes it sound like the world is coming to an end,” Digital Director Joe Donatelli wrote. “Our focus right now is on reporting the overall impact, government management and the human element of this public health threat in a manner that raises public awareness.” The post also discussed how social media algorithms can impact the type of news content you see in your social feeds. This work was done independently from Trusting News but embodies the work we do.


As the coronavirus outbreak spread and the number of news updates increased, the Coloradoan reminded their audience of their mission to keep the public informed. They did this by putting an editor’s note at the top of their coverage: “As the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, we don’t want you to panic. In fact, quite the opposite, ” the note read. “That’s why the Coloradoan is committed to providing you with accurate, up-to-date information so you can make informed decisions on issues affecting you and the people you love.” The editor’s note also let readers know they were providing all content related to the coronavirus for free as a community service, but they also directly asked readers to support their important work by subscribing to the paper.
Man, there are a lot of coronavirus updates flying around these days. There’s so much to know and understand, and there’s sure not a shortage of news stories. But we know that access to more stories doesn’t always make people feel more informed. Often, it’s the opposite. You might be in a newsroom that sees its mission as sharing every new fact and every new angle in real time. Perhaps that’s why people turn to you in the first place. But for some of you — especially in local news — it’s worth stepping back and thinking about what role you play. In a crowded news ecosystem full of constant, repetitive, overwhelming updates, what do you offer? Some newsrooms are having conversations about focusing on the larger context, and on information that helps people make decisions about their own lives. If you’re in one of them, congratulations! It sounds like the mission of your coverage is clear. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.