Best Practice: The Trust Project

Building news savvy: Best practices

▸Transparency

Introduce yourselves

WHAT IS IT?

Reporter bios, photos and author pages humanize journalists and establish their expertise — and will help search engines and social media platforms surface bona fide journalism and raise its visibility.



WHO’S BEHIND IT?

Many news organizations have adopted this practice. The Trust Project recommends it as one of eight core indicators of trustworthiness based on extensive research. The research involved interviews with members of the public who said knowing about a reporter’s background and expertise gives them more confidence they can trust a story. (The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations.)

DOES IT WORK?

The Trust Project is studying the impact at partner news organizations that are piloting implementation of author bios and seven other core indicators. An initial test of news consumers’ reactions was promising. Search and social platforms including Facebook and Google are project external partners. They will be able to identify news organizations that implement the indicators and give their work higher visibility.



HOW TO DO IT

While the Trust Project recommends specific formats for partner news organizations, others use a variety of approaches. Most publish a photo with the byline. Some link from the byline to a bio page, others publish the bio with the story. Here are examples: Independent Journal Review, Forbes, and KSBW. Interested news organizations also can contact the Trust Project about participating in its next phase.


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