The American Press Institute recently hosted the Journalism and Women Symposium in Roanoke, Va. (If you think your job is difficult, consider that the symposium is not only charged with supporting professional growth in women journalists but also with “supporting a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.”)
API used the gathering to release results of its recent survey on trust in the media. Not surprisingly, the organization found that building trust is not only an important thing, but maybe the important thing. Without it, readers simply go elsewhere and we can’t afford that.
Interestingly, the organization asked symposium participants to divide into groups and brainstorm ways to build trust in a news organization. The ideas themselves were interesting – and so was one particular aspect about the way they were presented.
- Get to know the community and let the community know you.
- Be more forthcoming with corrections and make them easier to find.
- Add more context to stories. (I think this is the key ingredient most often missing from the soup we make.)
- Change the face of your newsroom and talk to new sources. (Newsrooms need to look like their communities in terms of race, gender, age, etc.)
- Be more transparent about how you report and your sources. …
Those are not necessarily groundbreaking ideas, and I agree with each and every one.
The part of API’s report I found most fascinating was that it linked to a Google Doc that was nothing more than notes from the gathering. They aren’t formatted for publication, but they add depth, in terms of who participated and how the thinking evolved. It got me thinking… What if we linked to a page of notes from time to time? Would that engender trust? Would it make your story more interesting to a subset of really involved readers? If so, wouldn’t that be worth doing?