The Trust Project Resources

For Your Classroom  

The 8 Trust Indicators can be a great tool to add to lesson plans on identifying trustworthy sources and discerning real journalism from disinformation. Below are some materials that can get you started.

Statement of Principles

The Trust Indicators and their attributes, explained (clickable chart)

The Trust Indicators: The eight Trust Indicators handout (The Trust Project)

How to Identify Trustworthy News handout (The Economist Educational Foundation)

Lesson Plan for Undergraduate Libraries (Santa Clara University)

Newsroom Transparency Tracker (PEN America, The Trust Project)

Videos: Know what you’re sharing

Video: Look for the Trust Indicators

FAQs about the Trust Project  

Our user research

Article: What do people really want in news organizations?

For Your Newsroom

Learn our principles and check out the user-facing and machine-readable disclosures required by our global transparency standard, including technical links and useful explanations for your editorial side.

Statement of Principles

The Trust Indicators and their Attributes 

The Trust Protocol MVP (accepted news partners only)

Our Research

United States 

Britain

Europe

Summary of Findings

External Resources

Below we’ve collected some highly regarded, useful polls and other research on trust in the news and related trends.

Gallup

News Media Viewed as Biased but Crucial to Democracy (2020)

Americans Say it’s Important for the News Media to Reflect Diversity (2020)

American Views 2020: Trust, Media and Democracy (2020)

U.S Media Trust Continues to Recover (2018)

Trust in Media Returns to All-Time Low (2016)

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Digital News Report (2018)

Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions (2019)

Polarization and the News Media in Europe

McKinsey & Co./Brazil at Silicon Valley

Brazil Digital Report (2019)

The 8 Trust Indicators

We asked people what they look for in trusted media – and from their answers, we created ‘Trust Indicators’ for the press to build into news sites.

 Best Practices 

  • Who funds the site? What is its mission?
  • What standards and ethics guide the process of gathering news?
  • What happens if a journalist has ties to the topic covered?   

 Journalist Expertise 

  • Who made this?
  • Are there details about the journalist, including contact information, areas of knowledge and other stories they’ve worked on?  

 Type of Work 

  • What is this?
  • Do you see story labels with clear definitions to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports?

 Citations and References 

  • What is the source?
  • Does the site tell you where it got its information?
  • For investigative, controversial or in-depth stories, are you given access to the original materials behind the facts and assertions? 

 Methods 

  • Why was it a priority?
  • For investigations, in-depth or controversial stories, why did they pursue the topic? 
  • How did they go about the process?

 Locally Sourced 

  • Do they know the community?
  • Was the reporting done on the scene?
  • Is there evidence of deep knowledge about the local situation or community?

 Diverse Voices 

  • What are the newsroom’s efforts and commitments to bring in diverse perspectives across social and demographic differences?
  • Are some communities or perspectives included only in stereotypical ways, or even completely missing?

 Actionable Feedback 

  • What does the site do to engage your help in setting coverage priorities, asking good questions and finding the answers, holding powerful people and institutions accountable and ensuring accuracy?
  • Can you provide feedback that might provoke, alter or expand a story?

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