How does a News Organization gain the Public’s Trust?

Good Investigative reporters are like Detectives in that they must uncover and verify the truth of the situation they are investigating.
And no matter what they uncover, there is a separate “confidence level” required to meet in judgement of the accuracy and completeness of what they plan to put into print.

As a result, a “good story” will not be published because the editorial standards of the organization may have a single source that wishes not to be identified publicly.
The editors of the more unbiased and more professional news organizations will likely require that info to be published – have multiple sources that are saying almost exactly the same story, and that the reliability of one or more of these sources has been, in the past, without problem ( what they have said in the past has not been contradicted by any believable evidence).

So, if these “Good” organizations are careful to carefully confirm facts and vet sources (sources can have their own motivations to tell a non-truthful story) , and do not allow personal bias to interfere with shining a strong light into ALL the corners of the story, then this story, having been confirmed to good journalistic standards of accuracy, honesty, and completeness, may then be published.

Or did you think the reporter simply sits in a room and uses his or her imagination? NO. Journalism schools in America, as well as the top level news organizations teach them how to verify sources, dig deep into public records, and how not to be caught with a biased or partially true story.

A organization gathers “trust points” over time, by reporting a story accurately and in depth, with as little mistakes as possible. And when a mistake is made, the organization will reprimand, demote, punish, and fire the reporter responsible for writing something not up to a high standard of Journalism. And it must do this promptly, without external pressure and in a transparent manner, and also to print a visible and clear retraction/correction of the facts. You can see this in the track record of sites like CNN, NBC, WSJ. Yes, they make mistakes, but they take quick action, are transparent about punishments and blame, and they apologize – sincerely.

Truth, Impartiality and Integrity in News Reporting

Of all the strong pillars which support our society, that of news reporting may be among the most unusual as well as the most vital. How anyone even thought to carry out this vocation — of laboring to keep the common people informed of the events of our world — on a regular basis, seems remarkable. It is clearly a difficult, expensive, and much-maligned pursuit. And to maintain a news source of high integrity is today a challenge of the highest order.

When surveyed on which news organizations they most trusted, Americans — if you summarize the findings — were found recently to trust several veteran British mainstream sources even more than the highest-ranked ones of their own nation. These trusted British media included the BBC, The Guardian, and The Economist. This does not really say anything about the quality of American news organizations, but it does indicate our confusion and concern about truth. When in doubt, we want to hear from someone impartial, someone who isn’t likely to be directly benefiting from the results of the reports we hear. And in American society there is definitely a power shift going on, where some will benefit and some will lose. Many media organizations (like other businesses) are lining up on one side or the other — or at least they host news shows which lean strongly one way.

All this political division leaves us in doubt about the standards of the press that we’ve relied on all our lives. There are accusations flying this direction and that, that news reporters are not keeping to good standards of fact-checking and verifying. Sometimes the mere appearance of bias destroys news stories and muddies the public’s perception of an event.

What may be reassuring to many is that the news organizations we knew in the past are still there, many of them, still going full speed and in fact sometimes with greater efficiency. News reporters have greater sources than before and wider reach due to technology. When you hear of errors in the news, those errors seem more glaring and unforgivable because our appetite for news has grown — and we want it right the first time. The round-the-clock news cycle, or people reading news at all hours, means mistakes happen more quickly and reach more people before they’re corrected. This is an unfortunate byproduct of our news today.

But what is needed is a transparent and faithful news corps whose reporting standards are clearly stated to its audience. The public can give power to the press, so when a news organization rises above the fray and demonstrates its adherence to the truth and to impartiality, to plain speaking — that news outlet will earn the gratitude of the public.