Journalist's Toolbox Newsletter, XXXIV

Sept. 21, 2021

Building Trust in News

During the summer, I like to take online courses to add new skills to my toolbox. I usually take an IRE/NICAR course, a MOOC from the Knight Center for the Americas or another training I run across that will make me a better professor and trainer.

Last month I took a great course for journalism educators from Joy Mayer and Lynn Walsh at If you’ve attended any journalism conferences in past few years, you likely would have heard them speak. But their two-week course was a real eye-opener.

Trusting News is part of RJI and API (full disclosure: API owned Journalist’s Toolbox from 2002 to 2007). The organization works to “demystify trust in news and empower journalists to take responsibility for actively demonstrating credibility and earning trust.”

Trusting News partners with newsrooms and researchers to experiment with transparency and trust-building strategies, and then use what they learn to train journalists and educators. 

Its website is a treasure trove of resources for understanding transparency and how to better communicate with an audience. For our educator training, they shared with us several exercises for classes to help students better understand transparency and other issues related to trust.

I’ve already started to implement some of these resources to, the Chicago-based urban issues site where my UIC students publish data and digital-driven stories. We’re working in fairness statements, recorded audio interviews where reporters disclose their reporting approach, and even used Twitter threads to better explain our reporting process to readers, with a particular focus on data reporting.

Newsroom resources range from how to build fairness, transparency and diversity statements to how to better write staff bios. These resources are invaluable at a time where many still view the media as the enemy and don’t trust our reporting.

More resources: Journalist’s Toolbox links to several tools from Trusting News, Hearken and other audience engagement organizations.

Video: Trust and Verification

Want to build more trust with your readers? Use the trust and verification tools featured in this training video playlist to get it right:

Journalism Books: We’ve launched a short page of good journalism books and need your help. Check out the page, then suggest any titles, links to their sites and list why it’s a good journalism book on this form. We hope to build out this digital library on the Toolbox by the end of the summer, just in time for classes to start.

Around the Web …

Some useful science tools you can use for free …

  • Science Pulse is a social listening tool designed to bridge the gap between journalists and scientists within social media platforms. The main goal is to help journalists find trending scientific content.

  • SciLine is an editorially independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit service for journalists and scientists. Its goal is to help get more science into news stories. It connects reporters quickly to scientific experts and validated evidence. It works with scientists to amplify their expertise and help them give voice to the facts. It’s fully funded by philanthropies, and everything it does is free.

  • Journalist’s Toolbox Science vertical: Find hundreds of links to journal articles, databases, sources, space industry resources and more.

Cool Tool Tuesday

Don’t forget that at 1 p.m. CT each Tuesday, we feature a new resource on #cooltooltuesday. Be sure to check it out and retweet it. Here are some of my faves in this video:

In Quotes …

“If people are informed, they will do the right thing. It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.”

--Charlayne Hunter-Gault


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