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Trust Tip 5: Show the breadth of your journalism

Hi there. Joy here.

A new neighbor once said that until she got to know me a bit, she always thought of journalists as ambulance chasers. She described the local newspaper as biased and said she didn’t really have much use for news.

But she then — with no irony — told me how excited she was about a story she'd seen in the arts section that weekend that had allowed her to make a meaningful connection with a like-minded person. It didn’t register with her that local journalists had concretely enriched her life just in the last few days. She didn't see that story as “news” or “journalism.”

In the "fake news" culture, it's important for the word news to represent things like traffic coverage. Education. Weather. Business. Health. Sports. The economy. 

We hope (expect?) that our communities will value what we do, but what if they don't really notice what we do, or give us credit for it? What if their big-picture perception of what we do is actually quite narrow? Wouldn't that make them less likely to support us financially? To see us as part of the fabric of our communities? To trust us? 

We need to expand our communities' ideas of what journalism is by pointing out the breadth of our coverage. 

Jennifer Hefty at the Coloradoan used Colorado Journalism Week to do just that. She asked staff members to share a link to a recent story that made them proud, and the result was a Twitter thread and a series of Facebook comments.

Why not do this more often? Once a month, or once a week even?  

TRY THIS: Every so often find the right platform to remind people about the breadth of what you offer. It might be a social thread. It might be a list of links in a newsletter. It might be a spot in print or on air. Say something like this, with links and an easy way to offer feedback. 

For us, doing journalism means a lot of different things. We want to help you understand our community and the world around you a little better each day. The news we've brought you this week has included where the funds will come from for the school district's new safety plan, which businesses are opening in the new plaza north of downtown, and how residents of a local neighborhood are supporting a family in need. That's real news, and we do it every day. Feel free anytime to tell us how we're doing. 

Related reading: A more nuanced understanding of “journalism” is desperately needed — and we need our communities’ help

— Joy Mayer, Trusting News director

Are you ready for a free one-on-one coaching session to talk about how you could earn trust? Find out what we can help you with and sign up here.  

Trusting News aims to demystify trust in news and empower journalists to take responsibility for actively demonstrating credibility and earning trust. It is a project of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and the American Press Institute

Copyright © 2019 Trusting News, All rights reserved.

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