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As we all work to establish journalism’s credibility and figure how to earn the trust of cynical news consumers, we’re looking for journalists willing to take a radical step: Invite individual members of your community to talk to you about what they trust.

That’s right. Who among you is willing to meet face-to-face with audience members who aren’t your biggest fans or don’t think you’re a very good news source?

We have a bunch of questions we’d like to ask those folks. We want to better understand the nature of trust in news, and we think the best way to go about it is to connect them with journalists in their own communities.

It’s easy for them to rail about crooked media in general. Just like it’s easy for journalists to write off the complaints and concerns of their detractors. But both approaches will be harder to maintain if two human beings — rather than two representatives of warring viewpoints — sit down for a conversation.

With this in mind, we’re putting together an interview guide for journalists willing to participate. We’ll give you tips for success and questions to ask. You’ll share what you learn with us, and we’ll share the insights learned with the industry. Sounds fun, right?

If you’re interested in learning more about participation, please fill out the form below. Or reach out to me directly at joy@joymayer.com if you have questions.

This work follows a project in which 14 newsrooms  helped test social media strategies for building trust. (Full results will be up soon at trustingnews.org.) One of the things we learned is that across strategies and goals, successful posts were the ones that anticipated and respected users’ needs, moods and motivations. Never has it been more important to understand who we’re serving and what they need from us.

When I launched that project a year ago, I couldn’t have known that the issue of trust in news would play such an unprecedented role in civic life. I’m eager for your help as we continue to make progress.

Joy Mayer  
   
University fellow



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