Additional Research + Reports

Summary of Research Findings

What does the public value in the news? What helps people trust it? What has broken their trust?

How do these experiences and feelings intersect with the mission and values of journalism?

These questions fuel the Trust Project.We created our 8 Trust Indicators by first consulting the public.  People across race, ethnicity, gender, generation and U.S. geography shared their news habits, what they valued in news, when and why they trusted it, and when and why they didn’t. We asked what might help renew their trust in news.

What People Really Want from News Organizations
Sally Lehrman wrote about this Trust Project research and its implications in The

Trust Project Summit Report
We collected our research and gathered senior news executives around the world for a series of workshops. Finally, we winnowed a list of 37 Trust Indicator candidates to the 8 core ones now being displayed by news sites around the world.


In our original interviews starting in 2016, we identified four user types: Avid, Engaged, Opportunistic and Angry. All four types, we learned, value news as an important source of information. They varied, though, in their confidence levels and in the time they were willing to spend finding and assessing news they found useful and trustworthy.

In later interviews conducted in the United Kingdom, more themes emerged. Faculty members at Southampton Solent University’s School of Communications and Marketing interviewed ten people from a diversity of backgrounds in the London area. After in-depth conversations, some themes emerged:

• People tended to be loyal to one or two news sites that had won their trust. They checked these every day.

• Even so, as in our other interviews, people accessed news in many forms throughout the day: on a branded site, in social media, through search. They cross-checked one news source against another to build a clearer picture of the news.

• Many viewed non-branded online sites with skepticism, wary of poorly produced “churnalism.”

• Most considered news consumption a civic duty. Some suggested news literacy be taught in schools.

• Many felt the notion of ‘trust verification’ online was extremely valuable.

The Trust Project
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