What We Do

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.

Social Media

In 2016, we recruited 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 and this complete report, and drill down on what we learned by testing these three strategies:

Tell Your Story

Share your mission, processes and credibility

Engage Authentically

Host more productive, respectful conversations

Deploy Your Fans

Encourage the people who already trust you to share your posts

News Consumer Interviews

In 2017, our second round of newsroom partners set out to talk 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. Here is an analysis of those interviews. XXXMORE TO COME HERE XXX

We used what we learned in those interviews to craft the strategies we tested next.

Testing Trust Strategies

In late 2017 and throughout 2018, 30 newsrooms tested those seven strategies. The results can be seen by clicking on the “Newsroom Examples” page. From there you will be able to search hundreds of examples our newsroom partners have tried and learn more about how they implemented the strategies into their journalism.


Also 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.

Trust Coaching

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 at bit.ly/trustcoach.

Trust Newsletter

This year we also launched “Trust Tips”  a weekly newsletter offering quick, actionable strategies for earning trust. Subscribe at bit.ly/trusttips.