News Publishers Unveil 'Trust Indicators,' Walled Gardens Agree To Incorporate

A group of well-known news publishers, including The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Economist, are launching a new set of transparency standards designed to help people easily determine the quality and reliability of journalism.

The standards, dubbed "Trust Indicators," were created from a team of journalists from more than 75 news organizations as part of the nonpartisan "Trust Project." The goal is to help people understand the sourcing and reliability of content they read, including news, opinion, analysis and even advertising.

“Each indicator is signaled in the article and site code, providing the first standardized technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work,” the organizers stated in a release announcing the initiative early this morning.



It added that many of the the major walled garden gateways people use to access news and other content -- Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter -- have agreed to use the indicators. They are “investigating and piloting ideas about how best to use them to surface and display quality journalism.”

The eight core indicators are:

Best Practices: What Are Your Standards? Who funds the news outlet? What is the outlet’s mission? Plus commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections and other standards.

Author Expertise: Who Reported This? Details about the journalist who wrote the story, including expertise and other stories they have worked on.

Type of Work: What Is This? Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports.

Citations and References: For investigative or in-depth stories, greater access to the sources behind the facts and assertions.

Methods: Also for in-depth stories, information about why reporters chose to pursue a story and how they went about the process.

Locally Sourced? Lets people know when the story has local origin or expertise.

Diverse Voices: A newsroom’s efforts to bring in diverse perspectives.

Actionable Feedback: A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public’s help in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, ensuring accuracy and other areas.
3 comments about "News Publishers Unveil 'Trust Indicators,' Walled Gardens Agree To Incorporate".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, November 16, 2017 at 9:57 a.m.

    Still waiting for the Washington Post to stop using unnamed, high-level sources. Not every leak is another Watergate. Some of them are orchestrated hit pieces from disgruntled holdover employees.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, November 16, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    @Douglas Ferguson: What exactly do you teach at the College of Charleston? Surely, it's not jouranlism?

  3. Michael Spikes from Center for News literacy @ Stony Brook University, November 16, 2017 at 11:37 a.m.

    These are helpful to the news consumer, but the ones that will benefit most from it are those that are already primed to look for these items. Others, like another commenter here, will just fall into the "backfire effect" of simply doubling down in their own beliefs as they recieve more information from what they see as more of a counterargument than objective truth.

    Research published from Dartmouth has shown this to be true: -- so I'm a little unsure of how effective this might be.

    Do we have some examples of these "trust indicators"? 

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