Crisis PR: How to counter the assault on journalism and media credibility 9/11/18

In today's highly divisive political environment, the media and its credibility have become the news. Reporters and media outlets are under attack from all sides – the public, companies, social media, even the nation's highest office. How can local newspapers convince their audience to click and read when they're constantly warned of "fake news"?

During next month's SNPA News Industry Summit in Nashville, Tara Deering Hansen, principal of Sonder Public Relations, will discuss the importance of local newspapers developing a public relations strategy to strengthen trust and credibility in their communities. Like any reputable company, newspapers must know and own their brand.

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More Americans trust the media than they did last year and the majority trust local news 9/4/18

There's good news for journalists: three-quarters of Americans trust their local TV news and local newspapers. Trust is also on the rise for all types of news, despite increased attacks on the credibility of the American press by President Donald Trump and others.

These findings come from The Poynter Institute's second Media Trust Survey. The research found 54 percent of Americans have "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of trust and confidence in the media, a five-point increase from Poynter's first Media Trust Survey published in December 2017.

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Can journalists counteract hatred toward the press? It starts with explaining what we do. 7/2/18

The murder of five employees of an Annapolis, Md., newspaper by a reader nursing a years-long grudge over a story on his criminal conviction for harassing a woman was a horrifying, extreme example of a harsh reality editors everywhere face every day: Some people get really, really angry about the news and it's a daily slog to defuse that rage and educate the public on the vital role of the press in a free society.

After the horrific attack at the Capital Gazette, it's more important than ever that we take every opportunity – in our stories, on our "about" tabs on homepages, and in encounters with the public – to explain our mission: Who we are, what we do, why it matters.

Read more at Poynter.org

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Americans and the News Media: What they do -- and don't -- understand about each other 6/19/18

A key factor in the erosion of Americans’ trust of their news media is a failure to communicate – we have a public that doesn’t fully understand how journalists work, and journalism that doesn’t make itself understandable to much of the public.

This fundamental pattern emerges from a new study by the Media Insight Project. Twin surveys of both the public and journalists asked each group parallel questions about the public’s understanding of journalistic concepts, the public’s interactions with journalists, and how all of that affects people’s assessment of the news media.

The findings reveal problems of miscommunication, as well as opportunities. They highlight shared ideals: for example, the public and journalists want the same things from the press – verified facts, supplemented by some background and analysis. But they also reveal dissatisfaction: many Americans think what they see in the news media looks largely like opinion and commentary – not the carefully reported contextualizing they hoped for.

Read more from the American Press Institute

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UF, News Integrity Initiative partner to assist newsrooms in increasing media trust 5/1/18

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and the News Integrity Initiative are forming a new partnership to examine what research from multiple academic disciplines tells us about community engagement and trust in news. The yearlong, $250,000 project will also develop experimental curriculum and training for local newsrooms to help implement best practices from that research into news coverage tactics.

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Pants were on fire when PolitiFact covered Alabama's Senate race 1/29/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

PolitiFact is working through May with Alabama Media Group and AL.com in Mobile, the Tulsa World in Oklahoma and the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia. PolitiFact staffers do the actual fact-checking and writing while the local news organizations provide ideas, background and potential sources.

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Fake news: Wide reach but little impact, study suggests 1/2/18

Fake news evolved from seedy internet sideshow to serious electoral threat so quickly that behavioral scientists had little time to answer basic questions about it, like who was reading what, how much real news they also consumed and whether targeted fact-checking efforts ever hit a target.

Sure, surveys abound, asking people what they remember reading. But these are only as precise as the respondents' shifty recollections and subject to a malleable definition of "fake." The term "fake news" itself has evolved into an all-purpose smear, used by politicians and the president to deride journalism they don't like.

But now the first hard data on fake-news consumption has arrived. Researchers last week posted an analysis of the browsing histories of thousands of adults during the run-up to the 2016 election – a real-time picture of who viewed which fake stories, and what real news those people were seeing at the same time.

Read more from The New York Times

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College students write plug-in for browser to fight fake news 1/2/18

By Pat Eaton-Robb, The Associated Press

A team of college students is getting attention from internet companies and Congress after developing a browser extension that alerts users to fake and biased news stories and helps guide them to more balanced coverage.

The plug-in, Open Mind, was developed during a 36-hour problem-solving competition known as a hackathon at Yale University.

The winning team was made up of four students: Michael Lopez-Brau and Stefan Uddenberg, both doctoral students in Yale's psychology department; Alex Cui, an undergraduate who studies machine learning at the California Institute of Technology; and Jeff An, who studies computer science at the University of Waterloo and business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.

That team competed against others to win a challenge from Yale's Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, which asked students to find a way to counter fake news.

The team's software, designed as an extension for Google's Chrome browser, will display a warning screen when someone enters a site known to disseminate fake news. It also will alert a reader if a story shared on social media is fake or biased.

Read more from The Associated Press

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Leading news outlets establish transparency standards to help readers identify trustworthy news sources 11/20/17

At a time when the public's trust in news is declining in much of the world, the news industry is launching a new set of transparency standards that help people easily assess the quality and reliability of journalism.

Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display Trust Indicators, which provide clarity on the organizations' ethics and other standards, the journalists' backgrounds, and how they do their work. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organizations as part of the nonpartisan Trust Project, also show what type of information people are reading – news, opinion, analysis or advertising.

Read more from the Trust Project

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Three McClatchy newsrooms to join News Co/Lab Initiative 11/6/17

McClatchy has announced that three newsrooms will join an innovative initiative to strengthen news literacy, credibility and public trust.

The Telegraph, in Macon, Ga., and The Modesto Bee, in central valley California, will join The Kansas City Star as part of News Co/Lab, a collaborative project developed by Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and supported by the Facebook Journalism Project and the News Integrity Initiative.

The three local newsrooms will launch a variety of experiments to improve the public's ability to understand how news works, build public trust in reporting, increase transparency in how news is produced, improve community engagement with newsrooms and gather feedback. The Cronkite School will track the success of these steps and share best practices and models that work.

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