Transparency

Trust is now like pageviews — you earn it every day

Markham Nolan writes that, as readers dip in and out of news items from social streams, “news organizations have to think of trust in the same way they think of pageviews.” He continues, “Editors now know that every story is sold separately  —  the bundle is dead. Each story earns the trust and time of […]

Bill Keller draws the line between advocacy and journalism

Former New York Times Editor Bill Keller was asked in a recent panel discussion about whether news organizations with “a specific mission or purpose,” like his criminal-justice-focused The Marshall Project, were doing journalism or advocacy. “Was Watergate advocacy? Woodward and Bernstein and The Washington Post understood there was something really rotten going on in the […]

Journalists need a point of view if they want to stay relevant

“If extreme polarization is now an enduring feature of American politics — not just a bug — how does that change the game for journalists?” writes Jay Rosen in a foundation essay for The Conversation. To stay relevant and avoid accusations of bias in today’s age, Rosen says the honest approach is to declare a […]

The best ways for publishers to build credibility through transparency

As so much in the world of news and information changes, the fundamental bond of trust between journalists and the communities they serve is one of the few things that doesn’t. In fact, its importance has grown. One of the most important ways journalists and news organizations earn the trust of the public trust is […]

Show the reporting and sources that support your work

One important way to build trust in reporting is to show the audience the sources it relies upon. There are several ways to do this. I. Share source material Digital platforms don’t suffer the same time and space constraints as print, television and radio. This freedom offers new opportunities to incorporate and disclose source material, […]

Engage in transparent collaboration with the audience

Journalist Dan Gillmor likes to say, “my readers know more than I do.” Implicit in Gillmor’s axiom is a reminder that journalists shouldn’t think of people only as consumers. The people we serve have collective knowledge and expertise that can vastly improve the work we do. Digital platforms make this easier. The key is to find […]

Practice ethical curation and attribution

One of the oldest and most hallowed forms of transparency in journalism is attribution. You link what was said to the person who said it. You cite your sources. You provide a roadmap that leads back to all the people you spoke to, the documents you read, the other articles and research that helped form […]

Offer disclosures and statements of values

When an earthquake struck Los Angeles in March 2014, the Los Angeles Times was able to quickly publish an article that contained basic data about the quake. At the bottom of that story was an interesting disclosure: This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written […]

How to correct website and social media errors effectively

One elemental concept of transparency, which is a conceptual shift for some organizations, is that corrections are a good thing. Errors are of course unfortunate and bad. We must make as much an effort as possible to prevent errors before they make their way into the world. The ease with which mistaken claims and false […]

It’s time for a real debate on reader privacy

“As analytics software develops, news organizations are collecting vast amounts of data, not just about what people read but how they read it … there are good reasons for news organizations to measure that kind of engagement, but we should also engage our readers in a conversation about what data we are collecting, why we […]