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By Eric Frederick, NC Local Newsletter Editor
You probably know that Trusting News and the Center for Media Engagement partnered this year with 27 newsrooms, including Carolina Public Press, to learn more about how right-leaning Americans perceive local news, and how media can bridge a trust gap there.
The newsrooms surveyed about 3,400 people. Designated newsroom staffers, including CPP’s Jordan Wilkie, did almost 100 follow-up interviews. The research, reported Monday, found that, yes, people on the political right believe journalists are biased against conservatives. Read the full report.
- Build relationships with people who have conservative and right-leaning viewpoints in your community and listen to them.
- Include a variety of voices from people with conservative and right-leaning views in stories. Journalists should be cautious of using “conservative” or other terms as catch-all labels for people who may have very different beliefs.
- Consider diversity of political beliefs and backgrounds when hiring for the newsroom.
- Focus on story facts, not interpretation.
- Correct mistakes promptly to demonstrate trustworthiness.
- Don’t criticize only one side of an issue.
I asked Wilkie for his thoughts about the process. While he’s not as sanguine about the effort as its organizers are, he said he and his CPP colleagues want to keep working with Trusting News.
“While I found this initial report a bit underwhelming, it is a step in the right direction,” he told me, “and building on this work is how we get to more meaningful answers and analysis of how newsrooms can build trust across widely divergent audiences. That’s important for our bottom lines and for democracy.”