Trusting News project expands research and training through Grady College partnership

Trusting News project expands research and training through Grady College partnership

April 29, 2020
Sarah Freeman

Trusting News, a project intended to empower journalists to earn consumers’ trust, is adding research and training support from a partnership with Grady College.

The Trusting News project, which was founded at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, 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.

“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,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College.

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

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.

Faculty members will recruit newsrooms in the Southeast to participate and train them on how to implement Trusting News strategies, said Davis. The college will also provide researchers and resources with the goal of producing at least one research study a year.

“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,” Mayer said. “The research is crucial, so that we can be able to say with more authority what works and what should be repeated.”

“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.