WCIJ joins the Trust Project, a journalism transparency effort

MADISON – The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has joined the Trust Project, a global effort to increase transparency and trust in journalism.

WCIJ announced the move Tuesday, joining more than 120 news organizations in displaying the first digital transparency standard for news. The idea is to help people understand the ingredients that go into honest, reliable journalism, much like a traditional nutritional label.

Trust ProjectReaders will see Trust Indicators on every story published by organizations that are part of the project. The indicators offer additional context and explain each site’s editorial practices. Leaders from 80 news organizations, as well as interviews with readers in Europe and the U.S., helped develop the core set of Trust Indicators.

The Trust Project standardizes information regarding an organization’s commitment to ethics, inclusive reporting, fact-checking and correcting errors, as well as journalists’ backgrounds and methods. It also makes it easier for the public and search engines to find. By embedding the indicators into the article and site code, the information also allows sites like Google and Facebook to better display and label journalism on their platforms.

On the WCIJ website, a new “Behind the Story” button will offer information on who reported, edited, fact-checked and copy-edited the story. It also will include information on how and why the Center pursued particular projects.

According to the project, two studies have found the Trust Indicators help increase trust in news organizations and their journalists.

The Trust Project was founded by Sally Lehrman, an award-winning journalist and senior director of the journalism ethics program at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Funding is provided by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Google, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Markkula Foundation.

Prominent news organizations joining the project include the BBC, Washington PostThe Toronto Star and The Economist. The (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune also is in the process of adopting Trust Indicators on its website.

News organizations interested in joining should contact the Trust Project about participating in its Phase III implementation. You can get started by looking over the Collaborator Materials and emailing Sally Lehrman at slehrman.markkula@gmail.com.

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» Learn about the Trust Project