Teaching students to EARN trust

These are links and resources from a TEACHAPALOOZA session with Joy Mayer at The Poynter Institute on June 9, 2019.

Session description: Journalism has an education problem. We have to stop assuming people know how and why we do our jobs. We can’t let ourselves get lumped in with perceptions of “the media.” Instead, we need to actively work to earn trust from our communities by telling them why we’re worthy of their time, trust and support. Since 2016, the Trusting News staff has been working with newsrooms to learn how people decide what news to trust and help journalists implement trust-building strategies.


The slide deck, including three recommended class assignments, can be found here. Feel free to use this in your own teaching, with credit to Trusting News.

Newsroom examples mentioned in the slides

Here are the reporter mission statements from Southern California Public Radio.

More examples of how newsrooms are building trust can be found at They are organized according to problems journalists face earning trust. For more a curated set of examples specifically around injecting transparency into journalism, see this Medium post. 

Research on trust and user perceptions of journalism

A slide deck of updated research on trust is at


About Trusting News

Further support

Thanks to Democracy Fund, we can offer free 30-minute coaching sessions with anyone interested in actively building trust in journalism, in their newsroom or classroom. Request a session at

Three of our trust coaches have teaching experience. Read more about them here. 

  • Joy Mayer (Trusting News director) taught at the Missouri School of Journalism for 12 years and started an audience engagement curriculum there. She also taught print and web design.
  • Lynn Walsh (Trusting News assistant director) has taught digital and video journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is also the ethics chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and coaches journalists through tricky situations.
  • Laura Davis (one of our coaches) is an assistant professor of professional practice and the digital news director of the USC Annenberg Media Center.