The Arizona Republic has created an atmosphere thrusting itself into the center of the media landscape in Arizona as a whole. After completion of analysis using the eight trust indicators, here are the ones that exist in The Republic
- Expert journalists
- You can clearly see its purpose.
- You can find and access the sources.
- It has used local knowledge.
- It brings in diverse perspectives.
- We can tell the process used to make it.
- Journalist or news organization shows they care about these trust indicators by explaining their policies and standards.
Containing 7/8 of the trust indicators, the Arizona Republic all of the trust indicators are in plain sight. From the list of the eight indicators, the only one missing from the Arizona Republic was the “it allows readers to participate” section. There isn’t really anywhere on the site for the readers to interact with the content outside of clicking on the article you want to consume and reading it. In that regard, most notably, there was no opportunity for readers to comment on the articles. In my opinion, omitting a comment section or any kind of reader interaction on the site doesn’t change the merit or framework within The Republic’s content. That one omission doesn’t make them any less credible or legitimate.
However, I can admit that in today’s climate, in terms of the rampant amounts of misinformation being distributed in every view of eye, the information that explains The Republic’s content-creation processes and procedures should be a lot more visible and accessible. After all, people still passionately distrust the media.
To reach that section of the site, you must scroll all the way to the bottom of the site near the careers section where you will see this.
One way the site could improve its trustworthiness is by implementing and highlighting that feature somewhere near the top without taking too much away from the stories. I think readers would respect that a publication goes out of its way to ensure its audience knows and understands the legitimacy, effort, and care that goes into the journalism work produced for the general public to trust and share.
When it’s all said and done, I think the Republic prides itself on being Arizona’s standard bearer of a media company. They have created a trustworthy site allowing you to research that information and formulate your own opinion.
The second news site I decided to analyze was EastArizonanews.com. From the surface, the site appeared to be on the same level, or close to legitimacy, regarding the content in the Arizona Republic.
However, unlike The Republic, East Arizona News failed to meet more than one of the eight trust indicators. Here is a list of the trust indicators the news site does meet.
- You can clearly see what the purpose is
- It has used local knowledge
- It brings diverse perspectives
- We can tell the process used to make it
- You can find and access the sources
I would like to start by acknowledging that East Arizona News does not contain a section on its webpage detailing its policies and standards to ensure the audience of its credibility. Also very few articles are written by actual people listed. In this day and age, given the fact that Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low, it is the bare minimum to compose a page highlighting specifically the care taken in producing the content to serve the audience. Such omission opens the door to distrust and is the easiest thing a company can do to ensure it can’t be accused of being negligent when it comes to informing its audience about its practices.
Outside of a sign-up for alert button and to donate, East Arizona News, like The Republic, does not offer its audience any opportunities to interact with its site and content. But that should not affect its newsworthiness.
Lastly, as you can see a small glimpse from the photo above, this article isn’t necessarily written like your typical news organization in terms of the way the article is structured and formatted. That said, I’m not very familiar with the process they use to manufacture its stories, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it impacts the site’s trustworthiness.
For the media to regain the public’s trust, they must have guidelines and a moral compass to follow. I’m afraid I have to disagree with the Washington Post’s notion that the issue of trust in America could be solved by “objectivity” I believe that is extreme surface-level thinking. Actions and regulations are needed.
Regarding the eight trust indicators, it is acceptable to ensure the media you are consuming is legitimate and likely to be as accurate as possible. Additionally, what media companies could be doing to preserve their trustworthiness is to all contain, in great detail, a page explaining their ethical processes, much like the Republic had. There will only be more effort put into fighting misinformation; recently, Investigate Midwest launched its trust indicators.
I also think a very fantastic and informative way to fill their readers in even more is to have a small graf under each legitimate article that goes into detail on how the reporting took place, who and if people were spoken to, and things of that nature to ensure audiences know content isn’t being made out of thin air. Readers would appreciate specificity on where the information is coming from.