The Journalism Trust Initiative is rewarding transparent and trustworthy news

Chloe Fiodiere, speaker from the Journalism trust initiative.

Reporters Without Borders is calling for news organisations to join its initiative that rewards professional news practices.

The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) – set up by RWB – is an independent, international enterprise that is adopted by 1700 media companies in 85 countries. Only a year ago, there were just 300 signed up across 30 countries.

Around 100 federations of journalists, civil society organisations and media outlets have come together to develop the initiative, which is legally approved by the European Committee for Standardisation.

“The idea is to favour trustworthy and transparent sources of news, as well as avoid arbitrary moderation,” says Chloé Fiodiere, deputy director, JTI, in a spotlight talk at Newsrewired last week (22 May 2024).

Organisations signed up to the JTI receive algorithmic preference on partnering tech platforms. Microsoft has implemented the standard on its search engine Bing, and the JTI is working on an integration within LinkedIn.

The JTI is also driving ad revenue to news organisations, which it hopes will incentivise professional news practices. It is working with the World Federation of Advertisers to implement this globally, and has piloted this with a number of French advertising agencies.

Advertisers can use the initiative as a brand safety tool to partner with trusted news sites. Philanthropists and donors can use it to identify worthy recipients of support, as has been the case for Ukrainian support campaigns so far.

“Mistrust is growing towards the media and journalists, driving a loss in visibility, audiences and furthermore revenues for newsrooms across the globe,” Fiodiere added.

News organisations can get involved in three easy steps:

  • Submit a self-declaration covering their ownership and revenue model, and their editorial guidelines and policies. This takes a few hours.
  • Publish a report containing their self-evaluation, typically on their website. This can be done as soon as the report is generated.
  • Use an independent audit organisation to verify their declarations. In the UK, this would be the Audit Bureau of Certifications and can take a few months to complete.

The next challenge for the JTI to tackle is making the information available to citizens around the world as to navigate the online space and identify trusted news sources.

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