Image Credit: Akshay Gupta

Journalists had a lot to deal with when covering the 2020 election.

They were accused of having a liberal bias, and of covering conservative and progressive ideas and candidates differently. They operated in an information landscape that involved low trust in “the media” and increasing “fake news” accusations. They had to navigate conspiracy theories and heavy dissemination of misinformation and disinformation.

None of those issues disappeared after the election, of course. And our focus is now on what journalists learned covering elections that can be useful in the rest of their coverage of civic life.

Journalists learned a lot in…

Inside WCPO’s newsroom. (Photo by Lynn Walsh)

At Trusting News, we’re often asked by newsrooms how we know our strategies work. And it’s an important question.

We’re always happy to point to examples of what newsrooms say is effective as they strive to demonstrate credibility and earn trust. But we’re also especially grateful when we have the chance to work with academic researchers who can isolate strategies and create new knowledge about how the public perceives journalism.

Through a series of focus groups, Trusting News and the Center for Media Engagement found that TV newsrooms can build trust with their audiences by explaining why a story is…

What is your news outlet’s mission? What communities do you cover, and how long have you been in business? What do you value, and what are your standards? Who works in your newsroom, and how are they reachable? How do you make money?

These are all basic questions people might have about your news organization, but could they easily find the answers on your website, in your paper or on your social media profiles?

At Trusting News we find that a lot of newsrooms have information answering these questions somewhere, but it’s not always easy to find — and it’s…

This is part of a series about earning trust during unusual times. It covers journalistic purpose, credibility, funding and engagement.

There are a lot of accusations and attacks on news organizations and their approach to covering COVID-19. Journalists are being accused of being sensational, enjoying and benefiting from reporting on the crisis and in some cases making all of it up. These accusations have probably come from people in your community in social media comments and have been made by TV personalities, federal leaders and local and state lawmakers.

We could ignore the accusations and pretend they are not happening…

This is part of a series about earning trust during unusual times. It covers journalistic purpose, credibility, funding and engagement.

Journalists care deeply about being accurate and checking facts when producing news content. We work to be ethical. But many news consumers don’t know that — and we don’t often communicate it clearly.

Just like journalists do not necessarily know the ins and outs of what it means to be an accountant, a plumber or a nurse, non-journalists do not automatically know the ins and outs of what a journalist does. …

Engagement presents unique ethical challenges for journalists. Join the Gather community for a series of chats that dig into three areas of engagement — and recommend people to help lead each chat.

Image Credit: David Blaze (

When I was first approached about assisting the Gather community with creating ethical guidelines for engagement journalism, I thought, the ethical standards of journalism — no matter the medium — should be the same. Basically, the same ethical standards that apply to your front-page story or the lead story of your newscast should also apply to any tweet you are sending, Facebook post or Instagram story.

After thinking…

If you follow us at the Trusting News project you’ve probably heard we offer free coaching sessions for journalists and newsrooms.

The question is: Why haven’t you signed up? Request your session here.

Who can get Trusting News advice?

I believe that solving the public’s distrust in media is going to take work from all of us. We cannot just sit back and do things how we always have. We have the ability to get instant feedback from our community and should be inviting them in to make our reporting the most accurate and diverse it can be.

So, our free, one-on-one advice is available to…

A new study from the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin found adding a box explaining your story process can improve a user's perceptions of a news organization.

The research was done on behalf of Trusting News and completed this month. The goal of the testing 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.

We’ve seen through our work since 2016 that these elements do build trust. …

In a recent investigation into Washington D.C. police department practices, WUSA walks its viewers through each step of the reporting process.

A personal connection, a direct introduction to the story, an explanation of their reporting process and direct access to the reporter. These are all elements included in WUSA’s investigative story about stop and frisk practices by Washington D.C. police.

One of the strategies we’re testing with Trusting News is explaining the process of journalism and this story is a great example of how to do that.

Click below to watch the investigation.

Right off the top, the reporter Eric…

Look inward. It’s a phrase many people are told when considering a big decision.

Looking inward allows you to reflect and take stock of you. Looking inward allows you to have a better understanding of where you currently stand while making note of any challenges or obstacles preventing you from achieving your best.

As journalists we should also look inward. Consider conducting an audit of what you are doing well, what you could do better and most importantly what you need to be better. Ideally, when we look inward, we walk away with ideas about how we can improve our…

Lynn Walsh

Emmy award-winning journalist • TrustingNews.Org • @SPJ_Tweets • @PLNU Adjunct • FOIA fighter • Digital Explorer #Sunsets #1stAmendment

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