API announces affiliation with Trusting News and RJI to provide new funding and growth in 2019

The American Press Institute and the Missouri School of Journalism’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute announced a partnership today to grow and strengthen the Trusting News project, which has been working with newsrooms across the country for the past three years.

The new affiliation makes the American Press Institute a partner and the fiscal host for Trusting News, joining the Reynolds Journalism Institute, which founded and has supported the project since 2016. RJI will continue to support Trusting News through funding, guidance, and connections to the educational and research resources of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

API will contribute additional funding, oversee operations, and integrate Trusting News’ practical newsroom solutions with API’s other resources such as Metrics for News analytics, consulting on newsroom culture change, best practices for reader revenue growth, and support for trusted and effective watchdog journalism.

“We see a variety of important and exciting synergies between API and Trusting News,” API Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel said. “We believe our deep relationships with newsrooms can extend Trusting News’ reach, our analytics program can measure their impact, and their leadership on trust and transparency will strengthen our efforts to help news publishers with reader revenue and culture change.”

Since 2016, Trusting News has worked with more than 50 newsrooms in the U.S. to learn how people decide what news to trust and to test strategies for building trust. Their goal is to empower journalists to take ownership over demonstrating credibility and actively earning trust day to day. The program is staffed by director Joy Mayer and assistant director Lynn Walsh, and their approach combines research, newsroom experiments, and industry training and coaching.

API has conducted studies on trust and how it might be earned and has developed some new concepts, such as building news differently to encourage what it calls “news fluency.”

“API is a natural partner for us,” Trusting News’ director Mayer said. “Our goals and philosophies align beautifully, and their industry reach and impact will help us work with more journalists who are ready to take an active role in changing the relationship they have with their communities.”

The new affiliation with API follows other momentum-building steps for Trusting News heading into 2019. A recent $150,000 grant from Democracy Fund supports new coaching services and builds staff capacity. And a new partnership with the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will provide research support and involve faculty in training and outreach. (Read more about what’s next for Trusting News.)

“Trusting News has been building a terrific playbook for the industry and making great progress in figuring out how to engage more effectively with readers and viewers,” said Randy Picht, RJI’s executive director. “RJI is excited to welcome API in this partnership to grow and support the Trusting News project, and we’re looking forward to what’s next.”

Learn more about Trusting News, including ways to get help for your newsroom, at TrustingNews.org.

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. It is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance.

About Trusting News

Trusting News is a research and training project that empowers journalists to demonstrate credibility and earn trust. The project has been supported financially by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Democracy Fund and the Knight Foundation.

About The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) works with the news industry, professors, students and others to make sure journalism has a long and bright future. As a “think-and-do” tank that opened its doors in 2008, RJI uses its guaranteed funding to work exclusively to strengthen journalism in the service of democracy. It’s part of the Missouri School of Journalism.

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