It turns out, plenty of news consumers are eager to talk to journalists about trust.
The 30 official newsroom partners in the Trusting News interview project have begun reaching out to their audiences, and the results have exceeded my expectations.
Some newsrooms are seeing more than 1,000 responses to their introductory questionnaires. (Here’s what the questions look like.) How cool is that? A newsroom invites their audience to talk to them about news credibility, and real people offer their full name, email address and political leanings, along with what news sources they trust and why.
The really exciting part: In some newsrooms, whose responses we’ve looked at so far, more than half the participants have indicated a willingness to be interviewed in person by a journalist about trust. That’s hundreds of news consumers across the country raising their hand to talk to us about perhaps the most important issue facing our industry.
As we’re grappling with factors of trust and credibility, lots of folks in our communities are hand-wringing right alongside us. I find that reassuring. Whether they want to commend us, commiserate with us or yell at us, their interest is a good sign.
And I want us to talk to as many of them as we can. I want us to learn from them and invite them to help us serve them better.
If you’re not in one of the 30 newsrooms that’s an official partner, you can still help with this effort. Any individual, regardless of whether you’re connected to a news organization, is invited to conduct an interview with someone about how they decide what news to trust. No need to start with a questionnaire. Just identify who you want to talk to and dive right in.
An interview guide for anyone who wants to participate is at bit.ly/trustinterviews.
Here are the 30 newsrooms that have agreed to interview at least four of their own news consumers:
- Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio.
- Annenberg Media, California.
- Ball State Daily News, Indiana.
- Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming.
- Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio.
- Coloradoan, Colorado.
- Columbia Missourian, Missouri.
- Dallas Morning News, Texas.
- Denver Post, Colorado.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas.
- Fresno Bee, California.
- Jacksboro Herald-Gazette, Texas.
- Kansas City Star, Missouri.
- KUT, Texas.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota.
- NBC News, New York.
- Ogden Standard-Examiner, Utah.
- Rains County Leader, Texas.
- San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas.
- Skagit Publishing, Washington.
- Springfield News-Leader, Missouri.
- St. Louis Magazine, Missouri.
- St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri.
- Steamboat Pilot & Today, Colorado.
- The Evergrey, Washington.
- The Lima News, Ohio.
- TVN23, Poland.
- USA TODAY, Virginia.
- WCPO-TV, Ohio.
- WDET-FM, Michigan.