Photo Credit: The Conversation

Photo Credit: The Conversation

Four Things Journalists Can Do to Rebuild Trust with the Public

Published in The Conversation and republished in nearly 500 publications

In August, nearly 400 news outlets made the case for the importance of journalism in response to President Donald Trump’s repeated claim that the media is “the enemy of the people.” In #FreePress editorials published in newspapers across the country, writers stressed journalism’s role in a democracy, and that a free press is essential to a free society.

The message came at a time when anti-press rhetoric is soaring and concerns about inaccuracy and bias in the news have meant Americans’ trust in the media is lingering near all-time lows.

Yet our research suggests that if news organizations are truly going to close the trust gap, they must go beyond explanations of what journalism means to democracy and directly make the case for what it means to citizens.

Photo Credit: The 32 Percent Project

Photo Credit: The 32 Percent Project

The Art of Hosting Meaningful Engagement Events

Published in The Engaged Journalism Lab

Engaged journalism is about facilitating deep connections and constructive interactions. But hosting engagement events that foster those outcomes requires a strategy. How do you encourage participation, promote thoughtful dialogue, and work toward a meaningful goal?

We wrestled with these questions when we launched The 32 Percent Project, a research initiative exploring public trust in news organizations. Our goal was to get a ground-level understanding of how citizens define trust and how journalists can better earn it. We invited audiences in diverse communities from Mississippi to Massachusetts to participate in two-hour conversations on the dynamics of trust.

Photo Credit: The 32 Percent Project

Photo Credit: The 32 Percent Project

Six Ways to Increase the Public’s Trust in Journalism

Published in Digital Content Next

By now it has become common knowledge: Most Americans simply don’t trust the news media. It’s a sentiment that journalists have become all too familiar with over the past two years, as we strive to produce fair, accurate and relevant content in a climate in which we’re often branded as bad actors.

But what if producing fair, accurate and relevant content isn’t enough?

As it turns out, many members of the public want a deeper, more reciprocal relationship with the news organizations they turn to for information. Essentially, they want a relationship that more closely mirrors the other trusted relationships in their lives.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

Photo Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

Shell Games: With old ways and new ideas, Willapa Bay’s oystermen face a shifting future

Published in The Seattle Times Magazine

THIS IS THE WAY it has always been: Les and Dan Driscoll, father and son, 69 and 44, will pull on their rubber hip boots and set off into the nearly moonless night.

As Willapa Bay slowly shrinks with the tide, the two will begin the long hike away from the dinner lights shining on shore, through the crackling Spartina grass, over first spongy then muddy ground and, finally, into the black water itself.

Thigh-deep, they will follow the receding tide out a mile or more to the small barge they'd left out when the waters were higher. They will reach it just as the mudflats surrounding them are fully exposed.

"It's not something very many people get to experience," Dan says. "To walk on the bottom of the sea."

Photo Credit: Mark Harris

Photo Credit: Mark Harris

Labor laws and personal beliefs collide

Published in The Seattle Times

YAKIMA — Jude Doty has spent the past 15 years whittling his life philosophy down to a motto: home birth, home school and home business.

To live by those words, he says, is his right.

To fight for them is fundamental.

From the head of his sturdy dining-room table, Doty speaks rapid-fire about his efforts to preserve his family amid a society he says is eroding around him. His Bible lies near one hand, a history book near the other.