Introducing Trust Kits: A new tool for journalists to simplify earning trust

Mollie Muchna
Trusting News
Published in
5 min readApr 25


Journlaism has a trust problem. Start solving it with Trust Kits.
Trust Kits is a free, self-guided online tool from the Trusting News team. Learn more about them and see a full list of kits at

As public trust in media continues to decline, our team at Trusting News is more motivated than ever to help journalists demonstrate credibility and actively earn trust with their communities.

Since 2016, we’ve been learning alongside partner newsrooms about simple steps journalists can take to build trust. We can explain why we’re worthy of the public’s time, attention and support. We can get on the record about our mission, ethics and decision-making processes. We can listen with humility to better understand how people see our coverage and what they need from us.

We know these strategies are effective in building trust, yet still, too many newsrooms are missing the opportunity to demonstrate their credibility in basic ways. We hear from journalists that they simply lack the bandwidth to navigate these issues thoughtfully.

That’s why we’re excited to be launching Trust Kits — new, self-guided training tools from the Trusting News team.

Trust Kits offer journalists and news organizations step-by-step guides for how they can demonstrate credibility and actively earn trust.

These kits have everything you need to start explaining the parts of journalism we know news consumers are most curious (and most uninformed) about. Each Trust Kit breaks down big trust-building strategies into actionable steps so you can start being more transparent with your audience and be seen as a credible news source.

Dive in now at, or keep scrolling to learn more about each Trust Kit and upcoming free training!

We’ll be continually updating and adding to this list of Trust Kits. Sign up for our Trust Tips newsletter to get alerted when new kits publish. If you have feedback or need help, we encourage you to reach out to our team on Twitter or via email!

A GIF of a screen recording showing what the Transparency Trust Kit looks like. You can view the Trust Kit at
Here’s a look at the Transparency Trust Kit. See the full list of Trust Kits at

Take a look at each Trust Kit

Today we’re launching nine Trust Kits, with more on the way.

Here’s a look at each Trust Kit. Head to our Trust Kit page to see the full list, and get a sneak peek at which kits are coming next.

  • Ethics: People don’t give journalists automatic credit for the ethical decisions we make. Rather than hope they’ll offer us the benefit of the doubt, this Trust Kit walks you through how to explain and get on the record about your ethics.
  • Explain what you cover: Your audience notices what you cover — and what you don’t cover. If you don’t explain your story selection process, that can lead to negative assumptions about your movies. This Trust Kit helps you counter this by getting on the record (internally and externally) about how you make coverage decisions.
  • Listening: How can journalists effectively serve audiences without first knowing who it is they are serving and how well they’re doing it? (Spoiler: You can’t!) This Trust Kit walks you through how to reach new and diverse audiences by doing curiosity-driven listening in your community.
  • Earn trust with sources: Being featured in news coverage can come with a lot of potential downsides for people’s reputations, businesses and even safety. This Trust Kit guides journalists through how to make the sourcing process less risky and more transparent.
  • Opinion: If you’ve heard complaints that your content is biased, you’re not alone. Sometimes the “bias” is the point, but your audience might not understand that. Use this Trust Kit to help your audience tell which content is designed to share an opinion.
  • Transparency: We know many journalists value transparency and are willing to pull back the curtain on their work, but picturing what transparency actually looks like can be difficult. This Trust Kit guides you through deciding when to add transparency elements and what format they can take in daily coverage.
  • Explain your sourcing: Journalists usually have reasons for interviewing and quoting specific sources, but those reasons are invisible to our audiences unless we explain them. This Trust Kit walks you through how to explain why it is you include specific voices or data in your coverage.
  • Reporter mission statements: Trust is often based on how well we know and understand someone. It’s true in personal relationships, and it’s also true for journalists. So rather than letting your audience make assumptions about who you are and what your agenda is, tell them what you’re trying to accomplish through a reporter mission statement. This Trust Kit walks you through what should be included in a personal mission statement.
  • Corrections: People don’t think journalists own up to their errors, and that leads to mistrust. And while most journalists make corrections and have standards around their corrections, they usually don’t do a good job of letting the public know what those standards are. This Trust Kit walks you through how to get on the record about your corrections.

Join us for free, mini trainings

With the launch of these Trust Kits, our team will also be hosting a series of quick trainings around these basic trust-building principles.

These free trainings will be helpful for any journalist who wants a quick crash course in trust strategies. The first 30 minutes will be focused on how journalists can take action and will include perspectives from partner journalists on how they’ve implemented these strategies in their own newsrooms. Then we invite you to stick around for another 15 minutes if you have questions or want help brainstorming.

  • 2 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 4: How to explain coverage decisions
  • May 18: How to explain your sourcing
  • June 1: Writing a reporter mission statement
  • June 15: How to add daily transparency to coverage

Register for the training series here, and feel free to only attend the ones that are useful to you.

We’re here to help!

We know the work isn’t always easy, and often requires shifts in newsroom culture, routine and workflows.

We also don’t expect every journalist to tackle all the suggestions offered in each of these Trust Kits. Instead, we hope you pick and choose the topics that will be most helpful and impactful for your newsroom.

Even if you aren’t able to make it all the way through a Trust Kit, any progress you make on implementing strategies in each kit should be celebrated as a win!

If you’d like feedback or advice as you work your way through, please get in touch. And, if you use any strategies in these Trust Kits, we’d love to hear about it! You can reach out to our team on Twitter or via email.

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. We’re co-hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute and the American Press Institute. Subscribe to our Trust Tips newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Read more about our work at



Mollie Muchna
Trusting News

Project Manager, Trusting News + Adjunct, University of Arizona