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Weekly actionable tips for journalists to earn and sustain trust

Today's trust tip: Learn about job candidates’ diverse experiences and views

Hi there. Joy here. 
Who we are as humans influences how we go about our work as journalists — what we find interesting, how we frame stories, who we think to talk to and what we understand (or don't) about the world.

Collectively, then, who we are as a newsroom influences how we'll document and investigate our communities. It also influences who in our communities will see themselves in our coverage, and who will have the sense that our journalism is not made for or by people like them.

That is why we keep elements of diversity in mind as we hire. And a new resource from Trusting News is designed to help journalists better surface job candidates' dimensions of difference during the interview process.

Trusting News Guide: Hiring for Dimensions of Difference

How can this guide help your newsroom?

Think about who is on your staff now. What views and experiences are common? As a team, where have you lived? What do you believe? Who do you sympathize with? What shared assumptions and opinions do you tend to have?

Now ask how those perspectives and world views compare to your community at large? Who in your community would see themselves in your staff, and who likely wouldn't?

Then find the list of questions you typically ask job candidates. Which of them helps you understand how a job candidate's views and experiences would shape their work as journalists? 

Try adding questions like these

Here are a few of the questions from our hiring guide that I’m personally most excited to see. Think about what you could learn about job candidates if you posed them.

  • What voices do you feel are not represented well enough in the local media? Feel free to consider any type of demographics, life stages, interests, etc. What stories are we missing?
  • It’s so important that journalists work to understand a vast array of perspectives. What world views, values or experiences are you most curious about or do you wish you understood more deeply? 
  • We encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. Do you want to tell us about any parts of your life, your experiences, or your identity that inform how you approach your work? Feel free to consider issues of identity or disability, cultural factors, previous careers, socioeconomic factors, subjects studied, etc. (Answering no is absolutely fine.)
  • We know that newsrooms tend to be made up of people who come from similar backgrounds and have similar experiences. We believe we have a responsibility to be more representative of society. Do you have any thoughts to share, either about what you could bring that might help us diversify or about how newsrooms in general can do a better job representing their communities?
When adding questions like these to the interview process, it's so important that we both understand employment laws and show respect for job candidates' individual comfort levels. The guide provides tips for explaining the goals and building some context for the questions. 


This guide is part of our Road to Pluralism initiative

Thank you to members of our Pluralism Network for co-creating this guide with us. Much appreciation especially to the hard work of:

  • Scott Blanchard and Tim Lambert, WITF
  • Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Patti Epler, Civil Beat
  • Becky Pallack, Arizona Luminaria

In our next round of collaborative projects with our Pluralism Network, we’ll be working with newsrooms to study how this guide affects the hiring process. Along with our research partners, we’ll be asking questions about the experience of using it and the impact it has. If you’d like to connect to other newsrooms using the guide, please let us know of your interest by applying to the Pluralism Network

We hope our new resource will help you bring more dimensions of difference to your staff. Please let us know if you use it, and how it works for you. 

Bookmark it here: Trusting News Guide: Hiring for Dimensions of Difference

Six newsrooms joining our Newsroom Partner Program

Trusting News is welcoming six newsrooms into our Newsroom Partner Program. The program represents the highest level of support we provide newsrooms. The following newsrooms will be joining or continuing the partner program:

Read more about what these newsrooms will be working on in this Medium post.

Have any examples to share? 

We'd love to see how your newsroom is working to build trust and demonstrate credibility! Feel free to share examples with us here, on Twitter or by email at

Thanks for reading! 

Joy Mayer, Trusting News director
April 5, 2022
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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 © 2022 Trusting News, All rights reserved.

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