Trusting News hosting webinar, cohort to help journalists confront news avoidance

News fatigue is on the rise. Journalists feel it, and the research clearly shows it: The news feels irrelevant, unrelatable, anxiety-inducing and untrustworthy – and that’s causing more and more people to avoid it altogether.

Some quick research:  

This is harmful, of course, to journalists’ overall relevance and newsrooms’ sustainability. But it also has deeper, and more dangerous, social implications.   

That’s why at Trusting News, helping journalists better understand and address news avoidance is one of the main priorities of our work this year. 

We’re thrilled to offer two opportunities for journalists to engage with this topic this spring: A Q&A webinar with Dr. Benjamin Toff, an author and researcher of the topic, and a newsroom cohort that will work to implement solutions to combat news avoidance

Continue scrolling to learn more about each opportunity.

March 19: Q&A with news avoidance researcher 

Note: This webinar has passed. You can watch a replay of the conversation below.

We’re excited to kick off this work with an opportunity for journalists to better understand the current landscape of news avoidance, and how it impacts our coverage and how it resonates with our audience. 

On March 19, we’re hosting Q&A with researcher and author Dr. Benjamin Toff. Toff recently co-authored the book “Avoiding the News: Reluctant Audiences for Journalism,” which explores how journalists have contributed to this rise of news avoidance and how journalists can be part of the solution.

Toff’s research shows how news avoidance often stems from a sense people have that the news is overwhelming and not relevant, useful and trustworthy. His team’s recommendations overlap in so many ways with what we coach newsrooms to do at Trusting News, and we’re excited to build on this new data.  

You’ll leave the conversation better understanding the issue of news avoidance, and you’ll also learn actionable strategies to take back to your newsroom.

We hope you’ll join us! We’ll have a short public Q&A time at the end, so we encourage you to bring your questions. 

What: Conversation with Dr. Benjamin Toff and Trusting News Director Joy Mayer 

When: 1 p.m. ET, Tuesday, March 19.  Watch the recording here.

Apply now! “Confronting News Avoidance” newsroom program  

The inaugural Trusting News “Confronting News Avoidance” program will take place from April 15 – May 17, 2024. The new extended application deadline is Friday, March 29. Apply here.  

What the cohort covers 

In this cohort, journalists will work alongside fellow newsrooms and Trusting News staff to learn more about people’s perceptions of news and address common questions and assumptions related to news avoidance. This will help newsrooms both empathize with the public’s often overwhelming experience consuming the news, but it will also help newsrooms explain some of the basic processes behind news gathering, increasing transparency and news literacy with audiences. 

More specifically, this work will include: 

  • Conducting a curiosity-driven conversation with someone who self-describes as a news avoider.
  • Creating an FAQ that addresses common questions and assumptions related to news avoidance as well as transparency around the news-gathering process. 
  • Sharing this FAQ publicly, within daily content and on your organization’s social media platforms. Trusting News will provide social templates newsrooms can adapt for their own brand. 
Details and Logistics   
  • This five-week program will start the week of April 15 and run through the week of May 13, officially ending on May 17. 
  • Applications are open through the end of the day March 29 (note: the application deadline was extended). Applicants will be notified by April 1, two weeks before the start of the program.  
  • Each participant should be prepared to spend 3–4 hours per week participating in this cohort. That time is mostly flexible but does include three live, one-hour sessions.
  • This program is 100% remote and is facilitated through three live Zoom sessions, video recordings, a Slack workspace, assignments and optional coaching from the Trusting News team. 
  • We plan to accept up to 15 newsrooms. As we evaluate applications, we’re looking for journalists who have thoughtful observations and seem ready to invest in making changes.
Who should apply? 
  • It is open to local journalists in U.S. newsrooms who are willing to make a commitment to understanding and reaching out to news avoiders. (Note: It is not structured for freelancers.)
  • We invite individual journalists, newsroom teams or newsroom management to apply. But we ask you to nominate one journalist to be the main point of contact. 
  • If you’re not a boss, we’ll require newsroom management to OK your participation in the project to make sure you’ll have the support you need to carry it through. 
  • We will prioritize applications from journalists and newsrooms who are ready to embrace transparency around their goals and processes and can commit to sharing the work they develop through this program within their content and on brand social media platforms.
What does being part of this project entail? 
  • You’ll participate in live sessions as well as participate in Slack workspace and fill out assignments in a Google Doc. 
  • You’ll have the opportunity to connect with Trusting News staff and with other participating newsrooms for coaching and support if you choose. 
  • The Trusting News team will publish a list of participating newsrooms. We will also be eager to share what you do with the industry, and your examples might be added to our Newsroom Example database and written about by Trusting News staff. (Nothing you share about your internal process will be published without your permission.)

Please reach out if you have questions or need clarification! You can reach our team at

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The best way to get ideas for actively earning trust and demonstrating credibility is to subscribe to our weekly newsletter Trust Tips. We’ll hit your inbox each Tuesday with a quick, actionable strategy. And we announce training sessions there as well. 

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

Project manager Mollie Muchna (she/her) has spent the last 10 years working in audience and engagement journalism in local newsrooms across the Southwest. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism. She can be reached at and on Twitter @molliemuchna.