International news organisations collaborate to help identify trustworthy news

New set of transparency standards to help readers assess the quality and reliability of journalism.

More than 75 news organisations have been working together to create a new set of transparency standards that aim to help people easily assess the quality and reliability of journalism. News sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’, which provide clarity on the organisations’ ethics, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work. The Indicators also show what type of information is being read – news, opinion, analysis or advertising.

Each Indicator is signalled in the article and site code, and Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism.

Leading media companies including The German press agency dpa, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, Italy's La Repubblica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with Trust Indicators this month. Other organisations including BBC and Hearst Television helped to define the Trust Indicator editorial and technical standards. A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months.

The eight core indicators which underpin the project are: 

  • Best Practices: What Are Your Standards? Who funds the news outlet? What is the outlet’s mission? Plus commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections and other standards.
  • Author Expertise: Who Reported This? Details about the journalist who wrote the story, including expertise and other stories they have worked on.
  • Type of Work: What Is This? Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports.
  • Citations and References: For investigative or in-depth stories, greater access to the sources behind the facts and assertions.
  • Methods:  Also for in-depth stories, information about why reporters chose to pursue a story and how they went about the process.
  • Locally Sourced? Lets people know when the story has local origin or expertise.
  • Diverse Voices: A newsroom’s efforts to bring in diverse perspectives.
  • Actionable Feedback: A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public’s help in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, ensuring accuracy and other areas.

The Trust Project is hosted by Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.