WSJ grows reader trust through news literacy programming

By Katie Fabry

The Wall Street Journal

New York, New York

At The Wall Street Journal, we have a strong reputation of trust with our readers. According to a recent survey by the Reuters Institute, WSJ was named the most trusted national newspaper in the United States. While many of us remain in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the speed at which news is breaking globally has not slowed down. In fact, it has only escalated people’s need for trustworthy news and information.

Throughout this period of change and uncertainty, the Journal has experienced an influx of new readers, and we’ve found that many of them are exploring our digital product offerings for the very first time.

As we welcome this new readership, and the Journal’s growing subscriber base of 3.22 million members, we don’t want to assume that these new audiences are coming to WSJ with the same level and awareness of news literacy.

The microsite was designed to help readers distinguish between news and opinion pieces.
The microsite was designed to help readers distinguish between news and opinion pieces.

So, we set off to build a news literacy microsite that would help readers identify and understand the different content types available on the Web site and how we distinguish between our news and opinion sections online. This one-stop guide provides insights into the differences between WSJ news and opinion, the structure of our newsrooms, and the standards and ethics that play a pivotal role in our journalism.

We approached the creation of the site by taking users through key questions they might have about our independent news and opinion departments. We started with an explanation before leading them through the “why” and “how” we do it. We then addressed the question of “what’s the value to me?” and ended the site with how they can continue their news literacy education beyond WSJ.

Importance of customer feedback

We are constantly talking to our readers and asking for feedback. We took them through the campaign before we launched to better understand where we were starting from and get a sense of the impact we’d be able to provide. These conversations will also help to steer decisions about what topics we can and should cover next.

Our survey results show readers are finding the video and site to be very informative in helping to clarify how we differentiate news and opinion and also how to identify news and opinion offerings on our digital platforms. It also gives them something to share with their friends, family, and community to help explain.

Continuing the conversation

The launch of this site is only the beginning for us. We recently hosted a member-only event in partnership with the News Literacy Project, which featured a conversation between founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, Alan Miller, and members of Dow Jones newsrooms to discuss their roles and responsibilities, and share tips and guidance for how to spot misinformation.

To continue the conversation, we will be hosting another event for our WSJ student audience on how we bring new voices into our newsroom and train our journalists. This event will be part of our Student Editor Summit series, which began three years ago as a way for college students to hear from WSJ journalists and better understand how a newsroom works.

We will build upon the microsite as we continue to receive questions and feedback from readers. And it’s not only for readers, this is also a great resource for new employees at WSJ and Dow Jones to learn about the Journal and their colleagues. We think this campaign serves different needs and can help different audiences in a number of ways.

About Katie Fabry

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