Gaining and maintaining public trust in journalism is a challenge, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which seems to have brought with it an increased anti-media sentiment and misinformation perpetuated by bad actors.
While news organisations in the WAN-IFRA community are already committed to adhering to ethical standards and maintaining sound journalistic practices, this report aims to explore other strategies they can deploy to reinforce the mission of their journalism, and to further prove their trustworthiness to audiences.
It focuses on several tools available to newsrooms to rebuild trust in their journalism, and features advice from leading experts in this field. It does not explore fact-checking or misinformation initiatives, which are a subject on their own.
The verdict is out as to whether each tool presented in the report, on its own, is enough to rebuild trust. For resource-strapped newsrooms focused on the daily news challenge, the burden of taking on processes or people to check, question, and tell the backstory of their journalism is often considered too onerous.
For them, there are some simple principles we have pulled out that will help to reinforce trust in your journalism among loyal and occasional news consumers. Converting antimedia extremists is an altogether different challenge.
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From the table of contents:
Key takeaways from the report
Chapter 1: The challenge
What’s driving distrust
The pandemic: a turning point or false hope?
Media, journalism and social media
Chapter 2: Tools to help build trust
Ways to signal trustworthiness:
The Public Editor
The Trust Project
The Trust Indicators
In support of the indicators
Expert View: Sally Lehrman, Director of the Trust Project
Signalling journalistic rigour
The Journalism Trust Initiative
Chapter 3: The case against trust signals
Chapter 4: The business case for trust