Reuters Institute and Facebook join forces to study trust in news

Posted on: April 29, 2020 by admin

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has announced a £3.3m project to study trust in news.

The Oxford University-based organisation will use a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project to identify actionable, evidence-based recommendations.

The three-year project was announced amid the current Covid-19 crisis when trust in news is seen as a vital element of beating the virus.

“What kinds of digital news do people trust, why do they trust it, and what can publishers and platforms do to help people make decisions about what news to trust online? These are the questions driving our new Trust in News Project,”  announced the Institute this morning (April 29).

“In line with the Reuters Institute’s mission of exploring the future of journalism worldwide, the Trust in News Project will research these questions across Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In combination, these countries account for more than one billion internet users and represent a wide range of different media systems and contexts.”

The project will involve different forms of research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods and ongoing engagement with professional journalists, publishers, and other relevant stakeholders by offering two fellowships for journalists interested in working on trust to join them in Oxford, and series of workshops with industry stakeholders, and collaborations with other relevant parties.

The project team is led by the Institute’s Director Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Senior Research Fellow and research team leader Dr Richard Fletcher. Work will begin this summer. 

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, who is also Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford, said: “Many publishers and platforms face a profound crisis of confidence, and recognise that the long-term viability of both their mission and their business in part rests on whether people will trust them. 

“The Trust in News Project is a unique new effort to understand the drivers of trust around news –a finding that I suspect won’t always make for comfortable reading– and help identify actionable, evidence-based recommendations for how to demonstrate trustworthiness and build trust with different communities in different contexts.” 

Campbell Brown, Head of Global News Partnerships at Facebook, commented: “People should have access to trustworthy news and we’re committed to investing in this by supporting independent research to help learn more. We’re excited to partner with the Reuters Institute on the Trust in News Project so publishers and people across industries can better understand what news people trust online.”

The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the core funder of the Reuters Institute, based in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. The Institute was launched in November 2006 and developed from the Reuters Fellowship Programme, established at Oxford more than 35 years ago. The Institute, an international research centre in the comparative study of journalism, explores the future of journalism worldwide through debate, engagement, and research.