The Trust Project Survey Aims at Restoring Faith in Journalism

20 January 2016

Sally Lehrman

In the following guest post, Sally Lehrman, Senior Fellow on Journalism Ethics at Santa Clara University, California, presents an enterprise called "The Trust Project" and invite GEN editors and senior news executives to take part in this survey about the mission, values and practices of news organisations.

Nearly one-half of Europeans distrust the written press and their opinion of online and social media is even lower. Not surprisingly, therefore, Europeans generally consider themselves and their fellow citizens ill-informed about European matters. Such lack of trust is not only bad for news revenue, it also is harmful to civic life, human rights and fair government.

The Trust Project, a consortium of news leaders around the world, is taking steps to restore the press's role as a valued institution in civic life. Today, poorly sourced, misleading, even manipulative information often masquerades as journalism. The Trust Project is developing new digital tools and technologies to signal high journalistic and ethical standards to both audiences and news delivery platforms such as search engines. The project, based at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, is funded by the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Google and the Markkula Family Foundation.

In its preliminary research, the Trust Project has identified a set of potential indicators that signal trustworthiness. It is requesting the help of GEN editors and senior news executives to refine these indicators by responding to a survey about their organisation's mission, values and practices. Participants who respond by 3 February 2016 will be provided an advance copy of the resulting report.

The indicators chosen will become the foundation for the Trust Project's next phase of design and experimentation. With the support of GEN editors, the project can be assured that the indicators it selects will be appropriate and effective.

Source: European Commission,"Media Use in the European Union", Standard Eurobarometer 82, Autumn 2014

Photograph by Fabrice Florin under a Creative Commons License.