Countering the understanding gap about what journalism is

Can we rebuild trust in news without helping people understand what journalism is?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The Trusting News project team have posted some useful guidelines for both news consumers and journalists on ways of increasing trust in news. This one I found particularly useful:

Recognize that there is a lack of public knowledge about how journalism operates, and do something about it. Find ways to explain your ethics and your process. Describe your mission and goals. Dissect the decisions you make in producing each story, and find ways to explain them. A chunk of your audience is assuming the worst about you, and you have to challenge those assumptions. Don’t want to be part of the story? Tough. The narrative about journalism has got to change.

Helping people understand what journalism really is and how it operates was one of my initial goals for this blog back in 2003 when it started. Somewhere along the line, it became a blog about new journalism for journalists. I'm not sure if that move can be reversed now, but it's something for me to think on.

How could we be better at explaining what journalism is and how it operates? Right now, people are using that lack of understanding to undermine us β€” and with it any sense of a shared, objective reality.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.