New INMA report delves into how news media can rebuild trust

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


The reinvention of news media’s business model can be significantly advanced by newsrooms that restore trust from audiences inundated by fake news and misinformation, according to a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA). The report lays out a road map for newsrooms based on best practices that advance trust indicators.

“How News Brands Are Rebuilding Trust” is based on global research and case studies from The Trust Project, an international consortium of news organisations building standards of transparency and working with tech platforms to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion, and fairness.

The report describes how news media companies are using the eight Trust Indicators, as identified by The Trust Project.
The report describes how news media companies are using the eight Trust Indicators, as identified by The Trust Project.

Considered the most ethical and foundationally economic consideration news companies are confronting today, rebuilding trust must be intentional and executed with urgency, according to the INMA report. At a time when media companies around the world are focused on subscription revenue, research shows audiences will not pay for that which they do not trust.

Report author and Trust Project founder Sally Lehrman shares how media companies are implementing “trust indicators” in newsrooms around the world – notably El Comercio in Peru, Il Sole 24 Ore in Italy, South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, and MediaNews Group in the United States.

Lehrman also shares research from the just-released Edelman Trust Barometer, which shows — in light of the global pandemic and the U.S. presidential election — trust for mainstream news companies is headed in the wrong direction.

The INMA report looks at four steps necessary for newsrooms as they rebuild trust:

  • Acknowledge change is needed.
  • Strengthen standards and policies.
  • Heighten transparency.
  • Engage.

“Recent data from public surveys show we can succeed — and the moment to take action is now,” Lehrman said. “The global pandemic has awakened more people to the value of accurate news and their own role in choosing it. … The news industry must connect even more deeply to the principles of social responsibility at journalism’s heart and become the people’s trusted, responsible, and responsive ally. We must do so not just for philosophical reasons, but for our very survival.” 

“How News Brands Are Rebuilding Trust” is available for free to INMA members and for purchase by non-members at

About Dawn McMullan

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