Bridging the Gap: Rebuilding Citizen Trust in Media

January 5, 2018

At a time when trust in media and institutions has fallen in many parts of the world, journalists and scholars struggle to find ways to rebuild boost their credibility. Academic research on these subjects is inconclusive. A new report by CMDS advisory board members Anya Schiffrin and Ellen Hume, Bridging the Gap: Rebuilding Citizen Trust in Media profiles organizations in Europe, Latin America and Africa that are trying to build trust in the media. The report was commissioned by the Open Society Foundation’s Program on Independent Journalism and supported with a Dean’s Grant from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The authors of the report surveyed 17 media organizations that are working in their communities to come up with immediate fixes for this big problems of how to build credibility. They are on the frontlines—in polarized societies where media has traditionally been very partisan—and although the organizations' founders may think globally they are acting locally. Some believe that media credibility depends on engagement with readers. Others place more emphasis on journalism practices, including ethical standards or newsgathering practices.  But all the organizations are in frequent communication with their audiences, mostly using mobile technology.

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