Presenting a Roadmap for the News Integrity Initiative

Image via Tawheed Manzoor

Today we take a big step forward for the News Integrity Initiative by sharing our priorities and plans for the initiative.

NII is, at its heart, a project to improve people’s lives by building trust in journalism, combating disinformation, and nurturing constructive, inclusive and respectful public conversations.

Through grants, applied research, events, and other strategies, we are tackling issues of “trust” and “manipulation” in an effort to nurture a new kind of news literacy, broadly defined. Because there are many ways to tackle these issues, we have narrowed our focus to supporting activities that:

  • Build enduring trust and mutual respect between newsrooms and the public through sustained listening, collaboration, and transparency;
  • Demonstrate ways to improve community conversations and increase understanding and empathy among opposing viewpoints and experiences;
  • Amplify marginalized voices through inclusive news coverage, and creative information sharing and storytelling projects;
  • Value and cultivate diversity within news organizations as well as in the media ecosystem overall, paving new paths for diverse ownership and leadership in the field;
  • Diminish the influence and mitigate the harm of manipulation and misinformation.

As you can see, we are prioritizing journalism that listens, responds to and reflects the needs and goals of the communities it serves, as well as efforts that build bridges between people to foster understanding and tolerance.

Additionally, we will support and advocate for diversity, particularly racial and ethnic diversity, in newsrooms and the broader media ecosystem, as well as inclusive reporting and people-powered storytelling.

We believe these are essential paths to trust, and honor the values and advance the mission of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

At the same time, we recognize that manipulation of news and information stands in the way of trust too. Therefore, we will support efforts that track and diminish the influence and impact of disinformation.

In addition to these key priorities, NII will extend the longstanding work of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism’s efforts to build bridges between platforms and publishers, encouraging and supporting collaboration in service of the public and of the journalism field.

And perhaps most importantly, we are building an alliance of partners from different sectors — academia, media, tech, nonprofits, community organizations and others — around the world who are also devoted to journalism that serves as a force for building trust, empathy and solutions in our communities.

We want people to feel powerful — to feel visible, valued, and engaged in their communities — because they are armed with news and information that strengthens their sense of ownership and opportunities in the places where they live and work, empowers them to participate in community decision-making, and deepens their understanding of and empathy for people of all backgrounds and experiences.

We welcome anyone who shares this vision to join our alliance.

The News Integrity Initiative is a project of the Foundation for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism under the auspices of the School’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. The fund is seeded with $14 million in grants from a coalition of partners, which currently include Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, AppNexus, Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, Betaworks, Mozilla, and Democracy Fund.

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