Trusting News project expands research and training through University of Georgia partnership

Trusting News, a project intended to empower journalists to earn consumers’ trust, is adding research and training support from a partnership with the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Trusting News project, which was founded at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, where it receives continued support, has worked with more than 50 news outlets since 2016 to find out what news consumers trust and to test strategies intended to build trust. 

Engagement strategist Joy Mayer, who founded the project, is preparing to share the latest round of findings this fall at and to train more newsrooms in how to earn trust with the help of the Grady College.

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication | University of Georgia

Faculty members will recruit newsrooms in the Southeast to participate and train them on how to implement Trusting News strategies, says Charles Davis, dean of Grady College.  

The college will also provide researchers and resources with the goal of producing at least one research study a year, he says. 

“Their research is so needed as we try to figure out what the factors are that lead to trust and as we try to understand how news consumers respond to different types of news and different messages,” says Mayer, who was also a 2010-11 RJI Fellow. “The research is crucial, so that we can be able to say with more authority what works and what should be repeated.” 

Davis says he and the College “wanted to help and be recognized as a member of what I hope becomes a movement.”

“Trust is the single most important issue facing journalism today – we must work in concert to help our colleagues in the industry or risk losing our institution entirely to the forces of disinformation and cynical manipulation of the news,” he says.

“I’m thrilled that our journalism faculty will be part of Trusting News,” adds Janice Hume, Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism and head of the journalism department at Grady. “We have faculty research expertise in credibility assessment, and we have a strong relationship with news organizations in Georgia that could benefit from this critically important project.” 

The Trusting News project is also supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund.

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