2019 - Measuring and Building Audience Trust

Course Directors: 

  • Eva Bognar, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU
  • Marius Dragomir, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU 


  • Marius Dragomir, Director, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU
  • Lindsay Green-Barber, Founder & CEO, Impact Architects
  • Davor Marko, Fellow, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU
  • Ros Taylor, Research Manager, Media Policy Project, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Sue Valentine, Program Manager, Opening Journalism, Program on Independent Journalism, Open Society Foundations
  • Daniela White, Program Officer, Program on Independent Journalism, Open Society Foundations

Course Coordinator: 

  • Mihaela GrozaCenter for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU

Course date: 1 July 5 July, 2019

Journalism is facing a deep crisis of public trust. Some say it is more serious than the financial crisis that has clobbered news media over the course of the past decade. But the two, in fact, are deeply connected: subscriptions or various forms of memberships seem to be the only business model that works in this new era of journalism, and there is a close link between people’s decision to pay for news and the level of trust they have in the news product they buy and the people who make it. Thus, effectively engaging with audiences is key in keeping news media and journalism initiatives afloat.

The aim of this course is to provide participants with in-depth understanding of the most effective methods of audience engagement in journalism. The course will have a strong practical element focusing on skills, strategies and tactics used to attract audiences to quality journalism. The course is fit primarily for media practitioners (journalists, social media and marketing experts as well as newsroom managers); activists and advocates who work with media or engage directly with audiences; media researchers who study trust and business models; and policy experts who work on media literacy projects.

Course Structure and Objectives

The goal of the course is to equip participants with substantive knowledge and strategic skills to address one of the biggest challenges journalism is facing: declining audience trust.

The objectives of the course are, then, to:

  1. Provide advanced training and practical skill building to enable participants to engage effectively with audiences;
  2. Provide a forum for policy experts, activists and journalists to come together and discuss strategies to advance media literacy;
  3. Provide a forum for knowledge, experience and skill sharing of tactics, techniques and case studies of working and engaging with audiences;
  4. Identify a core group of scholars working in this area and nurture their research interests and capabilities with the aim of future collaborations amongst faculty, course participants, organizations and CEU;  
  5. Gain hands-on experience to develop strategies aimed at building loyal audiences;
  6. Develop the network of researchers and practitioners engaged in studying and responding to the adverse effects of declining trust.

Sessions will feature a mix of lectures, group discussions, hands-on practicums, as well as a field trip within Budapest to meet with organizations engaged with work in this field. The course will be organized thematically across each day, building from macro issues and broad overviews to specific target topics and case studies, including introduction to different research methods and technologies. The teaching style will be interactive and participatory. In the afternoons we will organize hands-on skill-building sessions. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of key literature, scholars, networks, and projects related to the topic of the school, which will be of use to them in their scholarship and applied work back home.

In order to maximize the output and opportunities for participants, the course will have a maximum of 20-25 students. 

The tuition fee for the summer course is EUR 550 (payable until April 25th). Early bird participants pay EUR 500 (payable until March 30th).

Read the most important takeaways here.

Watch a video summary of the course: