When facing a mountain of mistrust, we help journalists to feel empowered, not hopeless. Since 2016, the Trusting News staff has been working with newsrooms to learn how people decide what news to trust and help journalists implement trust-building strategies. We’ve worked with 53 newsrooms partners so far, and we want to reach all journalists who are willing to help solve this problem.
WHAT’S UP NOW: We’re continuing to work with newsrooms, and we’re especially focused next on experimenting with ways to share the motivation and goals behind specific coverage, highlight ethical decisions in stories, tell the story of the role money and funding play in journalism, and demonstrate the credibility of political coverage. Follow our progress on Medium and in our weekly newsletter. Newsrooms interested in working with us are invited to begin with a free coaching call.
Trust Coaching and Training
In 2019, we launched one-on-one coaching for journalists looking for help earning trust and demonstrating credibility. Thanks to support from Democracy Fund, the coaching is FREE at this time. Learn more and sign up to get your personalized help.
We regularly speak and hold workshops for journalists. If you’d like us to attend your event or work with your organization, please get in touch.
“Trust Tips” is a newsletter that delivers one quick, actionable strategy for earning trust each week. Browse past topics here.
News Consumer Interviews
A group of our newsroom partners talked to their own users about how they decide what news to trust. They started by publishing a questionnaire that resulted in 8,728 user responses. They then selected people (across a diversity of demographics, political leanings and likelihood to trust the news) and sat down for in-depth interviews. (When was the last time you sat down with a community member to talk about their perceptions of your work?) Some highlights: People trust journalism they find to be balanced, in-depth, honest and reputable. Here is an analysis of those interviews. What we learned formed the basis of the seven strategies we tested next.
In 2018, we worked with the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas on academic research testing some of our ideas. The goal was to see whether adding explanations for how journalists do their jobs is a useful tool to help build trust between a news organization and its users. The findings suggest adding an “explain your process” box can improve a user’s perceptions of a news organization and the Center is recommending that news organizations consider adding these boxes to their stories as a way to build trust. Read the full report here.
Newsroom Experiments in Earning Trust
In late 2017 and throughout 2018, we worked with 30 newsrooms to test ways to demonstrate credibility and earn trust. The results can be seen by clicking on the “Newsroom Examples” page. They worked to address a wide range of issues and user complaints on things like paywalls, accuracy and ethics. They tried out ways to tell the story of why their journalism exists and what value it offers.
Earlier Experiments Focusing on Social Media
In 2016, Trusting News got started by recruiting newsrooms to experiment with how social media could be used to earn trust. They learned that successful posts — ones that resulted in more and better engagement — anticipated users’ needs, moods and motivations. Read their key findings, this complete report, and drill down on what we learned by testing these three strategies: