Ensuring Reliable Communication and Showing Credibility (PART II)

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Your audiences can help you gain trust by becoming involved in promoting your medium and become its ambassadors. The more trustworthy considered the user sharing your information, the more likely his recipient base will perceive your publication as plausible and become actively engaged in spreading it further. It pays off to actively communicate with your viewers.

Be active both on your website and social media. Today, social networking portals are an important channel for reaching the public, but remember – you have no control over how and to whom they distribute your content. Do not limit yourself exclusively to social media presence. Regardless of the communication channel, always post only verified and concrete information, avoiding insinuation and gossip.

Respond also to the negative comments: this way you not only have a chance to convince skeptics, but also to show your regular audiences that you can be trusted and able to convincingly dispel doubts voiced by your critics as well as in real life (e.g. invite your audience to the office or organize events where they can get to know your medium

Trust Project, an organization based in the US, developed a list of 37 trust indicators, designed to facilitate the evaluation of a given medium’s credibility for the recipients. Editorial staffs introducing them to their websites are also encouraged to place a TrustMark on their main page. Trust Project recommends, among other practices, including the behind-the-scenes explanation (so-called ‘index cards’) to the release, documenting how it was prepared.

Trust Project also works towards increasing the visibility of the internet media implementing its policies on platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and Bing. Nowadays, these portals became key intermediaries in accessing press publications and thanks to the indicators of trust their algorithms are supposed to automatically recognize and promote credible media participating in the project. Translated
into Internet reality it means that the information portals considered trustworthy will be listed higher on Google search results and have a wider range on Facebook.

Trusting News is another initiative working toward this goal. On their website you will find not only practical advice on how to strengthen your credibility, but also an option to book an individual ‘training session’, which will help you plan your personal strategy of establishing trust toward a medium in the digital age. Concurrently with the premiere of a documentary film Putin’s Revenge, the staff of PBS Frontline published unedited interviews with people featured in the movie along with a searchable database. The recipients were thus able to check the broader context of previously seen statements and verify whether or not they were manipulated.

The Toronto Star editorial board publishes a weekly column divulging various aspects of their journalists’work (e.g. “How do we decide which story to choose?” or “What is the policy for publishing anonymous materials sent to the paper?”).

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