What Do Users Want? New Insights From Qualitative Research By The Trust Project
3:30PM Jun 24, 2021
Welcome everyone, my name is Sally Lerman I'm CEO and founder of The Trust Project, and it is so great to see all of you here, and we're here today to share a few insights from some qualitative research that we've done at The Trust Project, and it just feels so nice to be reuniting through, Oh ma, even though we're not in person. So, just to tell you a little bit of context, so The Trust Project is a nonprofit that operates as a consortium, building a more trusted and trustworthy press together with news organizations. So we're large and small news organizations, Legacy Digital Native across the globe on one of our network calls, for instance, you might hear people from San Paolo, Madrid, London, Boise, Idaho, Orange County, California and Toronto, Canada. So our core offering is the eight trust indicators, and these are seen on our news partner pages, They're a global standard that collectively show who and what is behind the news. And the idea is to explain what makes journalism distinct, and how, what kind of guardrails, if you will, are there behind journalism, to make sure that we really represent the public interest, and can be trusted and that we reflect accuracy and inclusion. So they were developed through user centered design. When I first started the project, I realized that journalists had spent a lot of time talking to one another about trust and the decline in trust but haven't really spent a lot of time talking to the public. So I was inspired by this user centered design idea and commissioned some researchers to go out and talk to folks about what do they value in the news, when do they trust it. When don't they. And importantly, how did they decide. And so we use that learning from the public, took it to news executives and held workshops where we combine these user needs and wants with journalistic values. And so now those resulted in these eight trust indicators that you'll find on more than 215 sites across the US, Canada, six countries in Europe three in Latin America so far, and on sites like the Washington Post, the Orange County Register BBC, The Globe and Mail, Hearst television Tegna, the voice of Orange County, Heavy and El Comercio and Peru, for example. So it's been some time since we first did that research, and I really wanted to know what's happened in the interim, and even though we knew the trust indicators were performing well, they do change perceptions of the site, and the journalists, what might we need to change to deepen these trusted indicators to make them more effective in this world that is so in such upheaval.
Christine Christianne led the research she had done some of the early research will a crawl is joined her you're going to hear from Willa today will sorry combined your name there. And they spoke to 28, participants across race, class, gender regeneration and geography, and came out with some really fascinating results, and we just recently completed nine workshops in three different languages with our news partners to again look at these, and, and play around with them see how can we iterate on the trust indicators. I'd like to share our core results with you today from the research, and whether or not you are a Trust Project partner, I'm sure, I'm sure that you will find lots here for you, you, there's provocative data about how people respond to the news, and what they want from us. And also you'll find ideas related to this link between trust, loyalty, and willingness to pay.
And this morning I was listening to Rasmus Nielsen and given a wonderful talk about from the Reuters Institute about their research. And what was interesting is trust has increased around the world, it's up to 44% and he was talking about well how can we make use of that trust that trust premium, and I think that's the same question to hold in our minds today, how do we want to build that trust among people who continue to trust us and maybe never trusted us and maybe who have lost their trust and then also because we need revenue in order to continue to do the work, how can we translate that into that willingness to pay, in our early research we found that 30% of people who knew that the trust indicators were on news pages or was more willing to pay from news for news from that site. So that's very provocative in and of itself and I think there's a lot that we can work with. So today, where you're going to hear the research from Willa, Cherry Brown is going to provide a perspective from a news organization The Washington Post was long time value partner of the trust project, and then we're going to have a q&a and discussion. And since this is a live session, please do think about your questions and post them in chat because we will do our best to answer them and that that's really one of the beauty of being able to listen to you and hear what your questions are and help us think about this. So first I'll introduce Willa curliest she is a design generalist from Tata Consultancy Services, and again thank you well for donating your time really appreciate it and just your expertise is fantastic. She is a human centered designer with a background in industrial design and user research, and the more I get to know Willow, the more I learned about her really interesting project so just a taste she's applied this design human centered design approach to historic sites, to helping cultural organizations embed inclusive cultural practices to developing a public park to help address gang violence, and all its products on the other end like medical equipment for people with disability watches furnitures, websites, digital learning platforms and smart lighting systems. So, and she's what they call a catalytic catalytic designer and that's what really someone who is expert at bringing people together and connecting them with the research in order to design in a way that is effective for the user. So that's what we'll be getting a taste of today. Her clients have included Bridgestone Philips Lighting Olympus National Endowment for the Arts science museums like in Chicago, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Smithsonian National Asian art museum and a newspaper The Chicago Tribune, and then I'll introduce charity brown to now, she'll be talking a bit later but charity Brown also really lovely to have you charity and charity who also has contributed a lot of time to helping the trust project in our various efforts. She is Deputy Editor of newsroom product and digital news projects at the Washington Post. She's worked on many projects from research and reporting in the financial side to later working in national as a digital editor. And now, as deputy editor overall she works with departments across the company so engineering product legal, finance Customer Care. Security advertising communications, all to help improve newsroom workflow and provide a better reader experience. So with that I'm going to hand the group overall say to Willa, who will give you some of the highlights of the recent research that she and Chris and their team just conducted. So thanks, Willa.
Thanks. Thanks Sally for that, that introduction, so I'm going to start sharing my screen. Um, so as Sally said this research was building off of work those done back in 2016. We kind of continued with this qualitative design research approach, meaning it's a smaller sampling size as Sally said that's when we talk to 28 people, but it's actually much more of an intimate like longer term conversation that we have so we can actually get more detail, out of these people about, you know how they're trusting news and particularly how it has shifted or what has been happening in their lives in the global life over the last four years. So this is a map showing it, you know where the people were that we were talking to. We wanted to make sure we got a range of political leanings, as well as a good sort of gender balance and ethnic identity, ethnic identities as well so we want to get a good breadth of people even among those 26 voices that we've heard from. So these are the trust indicators and I'm gonna let Sally give a quick intro to each of them so we can sort of start there.
Okay great, thanks well. So the idea behind the trust indicators as I mentioned is to respond to user needs and wants. So one of the things we've heard from the public is what is your agenda we understand that the journals aim to be impartial but everyone has an agenda they said so. That's where best practices come from that. Those are those guardrails like your ethics policy explanations about who owns the organization and where do you get your funding and how do you keep those influences, out of the newsroom, and so on corruptions use of unnamed sources, journalists to information that was came from a desire to understand the journalists more. So if you think about what builds trust. It's trust is a relationship and people want to know the organization. They wanted to know about the journalists are their values aligned are there Can I trust them for accuracy, what kind of expertise, do they have citations and references is one where people were looking for, well, how did you get this information, how is the story built so providing more information beyond just your links, because people know that links could go anywhere, it could even go to an ad type of work labeling news versus opinion because there was a feeling that drew even journalists, didn't know the difference necessary, necessarily, because there was so much blending of news and opinions. We have numerous types of work, actionable feedback that's about engagement with the public. There was a strong desire, even then, to have an opportunity to help guide the news provide sources, complain and be heard diverse voices people talked about wanting to hear from more than just people at high levels of business and government to hear from people like themselves to see themselves in the news, and to see people unlike themselves and we did hear a bit more of that, it's an ongoing issue of the desire for journalists to uphold that mission of helping us understand one another. Locally Sourced does the journalist know me, do they know my community, both geographically and demographically and then methods, how is the story built that goes with the references so how actually did the journalists go about doing this, why did they decide to do this story.
So when we started the the refresher of this research, you know, we put these in front of our users, and I want to put a call out because the top level, people thought made a lot of sense, and felt very stable like they would use it a lot, whereas the yellow ones on the bottom row here, had more of a nuanced, or complex kind of conversation and how people relating to them. That's sort of where we've gotten some some really interesting conversations. And people were particularly keen to talk more about actual feedback and how that might actually work, as well as how diverse voices and diverse perspectives on, they wanted that, and they're really interested in that because I think we're people are sort of becoming more, much more aware of how siloed, we are attending to be nowadays. So each conversation, we created sort of like this. It's almost like a large baseball, sort of player card for each person that we talked to all of them have a little bit about their news behavior, Which news groups, do they subscribe to our follow what type of news are they looking at and then if there's particular trust indicators or elements that came out of these conversations, we tried to capture at all there, as well as if they're like several them. We had card sorting opportunities as to how people saw themselves in terms of the engagement spectrum which I'll be getting into. So we have these word was one output from the research, we got 28 of these cards, but kind of stepping back and thinking about the conversations as a whole, there were really three trends that emerged in everyone's mind. So, the first trend is really about how people's engagement has shifted over the last four years. In terms of, you know, how they're understanding getting information and how that's affecting if they're going to wear a mask if they're going to go to a protest donate vote, anything like that or, and share emotion was definitely the top on a lot of people's lists and thoughts of mind, the role that emotion plays in how people are looking at the news was a very interesting and kind of dynamic conversation as to how they're using that even as a way of knowing if I can trust something or not. And then there's the general sort of that this landscape of trust and how, how do people sort of place themselves in this landscape and know what they're looking at or know that they can trust what they're looking at. So to start off with engagement, the first thing that we definitely did notice is that there seems to be a shift towards much more engaged, sort of news readership, than there was four years ago, um, and that kind of people fell in sort of two categories, people, there was a group that was really just outwardly engaged individuals so those are people who, you know, were really actively engaged with the news and we're using it to, you know, influence, whether they're going to join a rally whether they're going to how they're going to vote on their they were very active and actually sharing articles to friends and families and even larger networks of people, so big, you know, big dispensers of information. But then there was this an internally engaged group which was actually just as sort of avid and interested in looking at the news, oftentimes throughout the day. However, there was a real hesitancy for them to share anything publicly that they were looking at. And a lot of that actually kind of came down to fear of maybe unintentionally sending out, you know badly researched sources. Some of them even had personal stories of being attacked in social media because they sent out something that they thought was important. When and then got a lot of backlash from it so they've just they do not really share, but very much still engaged. The other thing that came up quite a bit, which is why all the way to the right, I still have this sort of not engaged or paused on because I'm sure as, as all of you know, who've been living in the last four years. A lot has been going on. And there is a lot of fear and a lot of emotion that's kind of coming up in total, all of these changes, global pandemic, you know, political changes in the world, um, and, you know, Black Lives Matters and all these really big important movements. So people were talking quite a bit about burnout as being a really big problem. So everyone is very much active and looking at the news, but sometimes they're having to actually take sort of calculated breaks to step back. Some people identified that there were certain days of the week that they would just refuse to look at the news or they would have to go for sort of periods of like just
staying away from the news for like a month before they can come back in and feel like they can engage with it again. So this burnout feeling was definitely there a lot. So when talking about emotion how people were thinking about the role of emotion and news, there were really three ways that people were using this, um, the first one is that people were looking at how something was written as a way of understanding, maybe where what the bias is or what is the angle that this particular source is trying to put to push on, and they, people saw this, that was a tool, it was an active tool that they looked at so if this, if his article was written with particularly emotional language around one politician, then they could use that to know okay well that source is clearly coming from this angle, so I can put that in my mind is there. But the other thing is that people were wary of this of emotion and how things were written as well, knowing that they can be manipulated, um, people talked greven specifically about how, you know, I refuse to watch video of news at all because seeing it is heightening my emotion and my, my potential being manipulated much higher so they're making very active decisions and to understand how they're engaging that emotional experience or that the how that's being presented to them, but then emotion was also important in terms of how people want to feel engaged. So, mean news is stories, and human beings, you know, want to, they hear stories and it can make you want to actually go donate and feel like you don't feel like you relate to this and you want to do something about it. So, there were also. So while there were some, there was hesitancy about emotion, there was a, it's a tool I can use to identify where this is coming from, but it's also I don't you know I don't necessarily want a motion to be gone, because it's how I can also connect and feel like I can do something. Um, so kind of quickly about specifically what we're hearing from the trust indicators. You'll notice this was that bottom row so these are the ones that had kind of more of a nuanced conversation. Definitely for the actionable feedback, um, you know, there was a lot of conversation a lot of thinking about what could be the sort of the future of like comment sections on you know, four years ago used to those were like really kind of chaotic experience a lot of people just avoided it. But now there's, there's actually people who are using comment sections to get almost like a litmus test about how everyone else is responding to this is this potentially true or not. So they're using a much more by dynamic way. And they wanted maybe even some next level of how, how we could create more of a conversation in these spaces, diverse voices. Four years ago, again, people really cared about seeing diverse like wanting to see diversity on a staff, but this has become much more nuanced to being like, you know, even yeah if you have diversity on your staff, what I really want is, is a diverse range of of ideas and thinking about how about the story and about, you know, what people are thinking about this. Um, and then locally sourced. This was also another interesting kind of series of conversations about kind of fear and the realization that a lot of local news are going away and so then how do we maybe Vamp up and show that you're still getting local perspectives if you maybe no longer have a local news station nearby.
And I'm going to kind of just quickly jump through these two because I know I'm gonna be out of time but, um, and then the other one. So, best practices, and people thought like, this is right on like I really want this information, but it's definitely something that people would only use once, or they would use it if they saw some kind of drastic change and how how news organizations maybe writing has changed or something they want to know or they have a new funder so what's going on, um, journalists info at this too was a very interesting conversation, because people wanted to Yeah, they want to know sort of the bona fides of the journalists, but also they understood that comes with its own level of bias as well, so wanting to know more of a holistic picture of who this person is, what are they passionate about. So they could get that. And then citations and references. Again, you know, people saw this is like, still good to have but also there's an understanding that citations and references can be easily faked, or oftentimes you click on it and it's maybe to a dead link, or to a, you know, not, not a credible source. So how can we kind of bring that up. And then it type of work, again, subtle and necessary, but there was a need and like can we actually really clearly identify like what is the difference between analysis and an opinion. Because there's also maybe some subtle changes in how each news organization is kind of classifying those things. So, in a quick Robin, that was sort of like the high level of what we were finding from the research.
Hey, thank you, thank you well and you can see there's a lot there to digest and think and consider and I hope everybody realizes that again, these are. Well of course we hope you become a part of the trust project but you can go ahead and use these ideas on your own. So charity, would you like to jump in and talk a little bit about how the Washington Post, uses the trust indicators and maybe more importantly to start with how you responded to this research and what it means to in your world.
Absolutely. So, thank you Sally and Willa or reviewing some of the trust indicators that the Washington Post has taken on. And, as both Sally and Willow mentioned, our goal at the Washington Post is generally to provide readers with as much information as possible, and to earn their trust with the sort of popularity and admin of the fake news phenomenon. We wanted to make sure that we were providing readers with information, such as the journalists info. Now this happens to be our Managing Editor, diversity and inclusion, Mr. Thompson. As you notice, he's author pages or bio pages as they're commonly referred to have some of the tenants of the journalists info that was mentioned by Willa and Sally, you know, such as a something simple like a headshot. Who is this person, what do they look like. Also, You know where are they reporting from the user can also opt in to read more about the person. So Thompson's overall bio page, as she once was a reporter includes information such as her honors and awards and professional affiliations. Not only that, but you can see a bead of all the pieces of content that are associated with that specific bylaws. And to give you another idea of, of what the author pages can include. It can also include not only the information that's given here but also languages spoken, which is, I think, an essential and very important piece of the conversation in terms of providing that background about the journalists on the pieces of content themselves. When, when a user clicks on it. Not only are we prominently displaying the island I'm here again. But also, when the user hovers over the byline we get to see here again some of the information that was displayed on the author page, just in case they're not navigating to the author page first and then going to the piece of content being able to reach out to and also follow
The author is especially important to users, and readers as maybe they want to email this person specifically about the article that they've written or follow them on their social media accounts to see more. And then at the bottom of our piece of content are additional bio information here again about the author. Okay. There's also the idea of providing labels on our stories. So these are just a couple of quick examples, whether it's analysis or perspective, or even review of the user hovers over the label, they actually get to see what our definition of that piece of content is. So, they're not sort of hunting around to figure out okay, well, is this straight news or is this an analysis piece. We also feature on our website, our policies and standards. Basically, what are ethics, you know what, what policies, do we have around corrections updates takedowns, on the website. What's our diversity policy, things of that nature. So, as I said, our goal is overall transparency and then also being able to connect as often as possible with the reader themselves. That can come in a variety of forms such as engagement, comments, newsletters, live chats with the readers where they can ask our reporters questions about various topics. Some of our most successful live chats have been about things that are affecting breeders in the moment. If 2020 was sort of whittled down to maybe three huge coverage areas, It will probably have been pandemics protests, and politics, and we tried to connect with our readers as often as possible. Um, also readers can can even contact us just generally about the journalism, or any number of areas here. So with that I'm going to turn it back over to Willa, and Sally and, and I welcome any questions that you may have as far as the trust project, which we are a member of.
Well thanks charity that's nice to really appreciate the little roundup of some of the trust indicators on the post pages, and one of the things to report for the audience to know today is that those pieces that you saw on the post those we see them consistently across Europe, the US Canada Latin America on all of our sites, and so we build this familiarity with what is behind journalism, so who are the people what are these definitions you see the same definition of analysis or opinion on all these different sites so the goal is one of adding more clarity and awareness of who and what is behind a new story and also building I guess you can say the muscles of people's ability to be to know what to look for. And it also has the effect of helping all of us build our own tops, I would say in terms of the policies and such. So, what really what we wanted to talk more about the research today. So let me ask, I'll start with. Maybe I'll start with you, charity, actually, in the research you had the opportunity to listen to the presentations that will I gave at our workshops you attended them. What did you find most compelling about the research and is there something that you plan to apply at the post or might be considering in regard to that.
Totally. So, one of the things that I found the most interesting was the sense of emotion, that was centered around news, specifically, no thinking about 2020 I guess the what my major takeaway in terms of emotion was anxiety. There was quite a bit of anxiety about what was happening locally, nationally and then globally for most of the readers who responded. Um, and one of the things that we want to make sure that we do at the Washington Post, is to provide as much information as possible to to try to mitigate some of that anxiety so one of the things that we did was have more topics specific live chats where you could ask about your finances and how they had been affected by the pandemic. Um, another thing that I pulled out of the, the overall workshop that we had was, um, the fact that people want to know as much as possible about our process and our overall general workflow. So one of the things that was suggested was the return to, or the elevation of the idea of a reporter's notebook. Basically, how you're arriving at your line of coverage, and, and, um, you know how you're navigating that coverage area I think one of the best examples of how that can truly be optimized and how it can truly connect with the readers would have been David Farenthold coverage of the Trump contributions to charities, um, you know, you got to see what David's process was, where he was actually discussing, you know, the, he will hold up a legal pad and say okay, here's a list of all the charities and this is how we're trying to. We're trying to see, you know what contributions have been made. And so helping readers understand what we cover why it is that we cover those, those lines of coverage, and then also getting that feedback. So, what is it that we should be covering that you know you're not seeing. So those were some of the key aspects of the overall workshop which was a fantastic experience.
Thank you, charity that's those are really important points for us to consider and how to do that in a way that also is really smooth for the user so that they're not one of the things I think we'll have discovered was, people don't want to work too hard in terms of finding out how it was story was built for instance, if they want to know but they don't want to work too hard. So, and then I love that what you're talking about in regards to trying to ease that anxiety will go into you. One of the things that we heard this morning so Reuters Institute as I mentioned, they do this annual study of trust in the news or just the state of the news really in trust as part of it. One of the things that they found was that people really strongly valued impartiality in the news, and so I wondered how that intersects with your findings and well how, how did people talk about that because theirs was a survey Arthur's going in and talking with people. So, can you elaborate on that at all.
Yeah, I mean I, there were quite a bit of users that are, that I was speaking to that came out and the research that we're really, really wanting, but essentially the how they would cast a handle or look for the impartial perspective is that they would curate a series of different sources, because they would know that somewhere maybe in between, was where I could find what's actually happening, but there was definitely people I talked to her like I kind of just want to have the facts. And I mean, sure, like you can have sort of bent opinions sections or you can have things but they were really looking for like that just, just tell me what what is going on, and just the facts of what's going on. And actually it's kind of tying back to also what what charity said, um, one of the things that I love that the posts is it's got so many kind of avenues for people to kind of like respond to and have maybe more of a dialogue because out of this heightened level of anxiety that everyone was having, wanting to know the facts but also wanting to know, like, there's, there was an feeling that people don't want to just be scared anymore, And sometimes, reading, reading the news just feels like it's just shock, because it's you know you want readership and you want it's like oh my god like this is the whole world's on fire, that people are like, okay, but but can you tell me then. What can I do, or what is being done, um, that was definitely came out quite heavily. Um, I'm thinking even particularly about this one person I talked to in the UK who kind of perfectly explained, almost that triangle of emotion and how he's being kind of stuck on where he, you know, thought that he kind of knew what was going on but like a lot of us I think when the vote on Brexit happened he was shocked, because he was in one of those categories of people who had had, didn't think it was even feasible that that was going to happen. And then when that happened, he was like, wow, I am living in I'm totally siloed. This is a major problem. So he purposely tried to reach out for different perspectives to get like I need actually what's going on in this country in my country. And, but, but when he did that, he was so horrified and turned off by the emotion and the language that those perspectives were written in that he felt very stuck so he knew he had a problem, he knew he wasn't getting maybe a full picture of what's going on in his country, but he didn't feel like the sources and what we like wasn't accessible to him in terms of how being actually portrayed. So that's the close was really an interesting kind of stuck in between, like, knowing he's in a bubble really wanting to understand different perspectives and not being able to get access to it in a way that felt good. So, yeah,
yeah. And one of the things that was really interesting what you told me about that because I, I had to assume the class had been going, like many of the users you spoke with they had gone to different sources, which is true. To find out, try to build a more nuanced view of the world, because they understood, they felt that they weren't getting that from an individual news source and I think that's something we all really need to pay attention to. This is also something that I heard in the Reuters from the Reuters institute this morning. But the other piece that was that clouds your source that you're speaking about. He wasn't just talking about that like we think of these fiery kind of external sources not the mainstream so called news. He was talking about coverage of variety, a variety of perspectives in the news as well. Right. Do you want to say a little bit more about that like the way they were portrayed would seem to be challenging for him.
I yeah I mean he because he sort of would bring up, even just the subtleties in the language of how something was being written as, making it, you know, almost. That in itself was going to be kind of hard for him to engage with it, um, I mean I'm thinking just off the CUSP right now it's like meaning clouds in terms of, like, we played around with this idea in some of the workshops about is there like some kind of visual cue that you could have when you're looking at an article to understand which perspectives is covering so you can even give that information to people at a glance, because as you know Sally says, um, you know, people are very active in terms of engagement with the news but also people have a whole other lives and jobs and things that they need to do so, there was sort of, I think and I think this leads into sort of the feeling of sort of desperation and anxiety over the last couple of years because everyone was still trying to just move forward with their lives and all of this was happening and they were trying to stay on top of everything, which led to that inevitable, a lot of conversations about burnout. So how do we sort of get creative and express this information, sort of, simply to people so they can, you know, still engage with the news and feel confident about what they're looking at what perspectives, they're getting from without having to have, you know, a PhD in, in sort of like the news.
If I spend all day on it. Yeah, that was Sean Ogden in the chat was saying I think to your point all the conflicting expert opinions on every front are like anxiety wildfire fire. So it's all, you know we're throwing it all out them without a lot of assistance in, so it's kind of a challenge as we think about being impartial and yet helping be more of a guidepost for for people and helping them sort through things and I feel it's something we can really consider more, that there really is an opportunity for us right now when there is all this anxiety that journalism can be the space where a person can go to for help sorting through it, help sorting through the confusing events of the day, and knowing that you're not going to just get one piece of it and that's where our efforts and inclusion, equity, those efforts become ever more important and crucial. Now one of the things that you were talking about that. Just before was this whole sequence of. No, not like complete disengagement with the news, and then moving from inner to outer engagement, and I wanted to ask charity like because we've, we've made the assumption that it's important to move people from the inner engagement to the outer engagement so from just thinking about the news to actually act on, and I'm wondering charity. Do you think that that's, that we really ought to be emphasizing that, like, as news organizations is it important to do more than engaged but actually ignite people to be engaged in democracy, let's say are the actions of their community, is that a role of the press as well.
I think it's a very sort of tightrope to walk right. There's. We want to provide people with as much information as possible but also, um, you know, sort of let them know what's going on and around their communities. I would say, generally speaking, There are some articles that we have where, um, you know, for instance, we've, we've had articles about domestic violence before, and making sure that we include resources to where you can you can get help, um, we had a voter's guy, um, basically uh gave you a rundown of deadlines that were happening in your state specifically so that you knew, Okay, here's the deadline to mailing your ballot. Here's the deadline, where you can still make it to the polls here's, you know, when the polls open for early voting, things of that nature, um, I think that's the our general goal is to provide the input the information to the reader and then it's up to them whether or not they choose to, to act on it, or to move forward with it. So yeah, I definitely think that's a, that's a great question, Sally and and, you know, I, I, along with, I'm sure a host of others who are even better experts in terms of the field right are probably evaluating that and and seeing you know what is our role.
Huh, yeah thank you it is a challenge to consider because as we as we support the public, where does a lot how do we balance that with impartiality, and that that gets to a question that Mike Dennison had asked should impartial be the North Star says pure objectivity is impossible. Does transparency end up being more to readers than perceived impartiality, so I'm going to throw that to either one of you who wants to kick it off I think both of you will have really interesting answers.
I mean I I think that's an interesting way to go because there was definitely I mean. While there were some users that we talked to who were like i All I want is like the facts, I, you know, majority of people we talked to knew that, you know, this is written by a human being, and know that it's coming from perspectives and just want to be aware of that and they want to understand it, I think, you know I'm close for an instance, knows that wants to be aware that it also wants to be aware that there's maybe another side that I'm not being seen, I'm not being shown. So I think, you know, in terms of one of the outcomes from even the workshop so we had one of the recommendations was, you know we talked actually quite a bit about being really transparent about when we've made mistakes, and having a very clear language and living to that code and making it perfectly clear. I know it was particularly it was some of the British newspapers are talking about this without like we, you know, we were battling we like try to hide things like that when that's work if you're going to hide something like that, that's when people want to get even more
So you got to just you know, I think just the transparency and being open and honest and having opportunities for dialogue would help.
Thanks, that's, That's so interesting. One of the things that we do here at the trust projects, just as you were saying, People remember so even for older organizations, we have partners who are more than 100 years old have been publishing for more than 100 years. Readers will see them do things now and they will still have the angry at them for what happened 50 years ago. And so there will be this, they will want some sort of reconciliation over that and acknowledgement before they'll believe what's going on today, so that's, that's an even deeper level of owning up to our past, and we, you know there's plenty of opportunities for us to do that because news. We're people we're organizations we are structures that have always been forthright about what we're, what we're about and the interests that we represent. So that's part of what we want to change, for, for charity. What are your thoughts there about this balance between, or maybe the way to frame it is how does transparency, help with impartiality or perceptions of impartiality, do you find is making a difference in your readership.
I think absolutely, um, one of the things that we've done, just recently is to, and it, it may not seem like is, it's, I can seem like a small thing, but just letting people know when we're making updates to the website, specifically in the areas where the readers are actually engaging with us, such as or engaging with the broader community such as our commenting section. I'm putting them no the changes that are coming. I think another way that we tried to be as transparent as possible is, I can easily recall and this struck me just as a reader, not even a Washington Post employee was we had an article about, well how can we cover the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, you know, in 1963 has the post cover that. And then, you know, talking about the, the anniversary. March that came, you know, decades later, and doing a better job in terms of covering it so I do think that transparency is definitely the way to go. We will continue to pursue that. But also, um, you know, hearing back from the readers is also a way to help us sort of navigate exactly what they get to navigate, not only, you know, that the areas that we cover and then also the information that we're sharing but also getting their feedback about what it is that we should be doing or how we can elevate the experience for them.
Yeah, thank you, and that's, that's a great we're out of time and that's actually a great note to end on because it really out route is about listening to the public, letting there be a guide, even as we stick to our journalistic values and what we know as experts on how to report the news, and continuing to build that relationship because that's core to our relationship is that exchange. So I want to thank, first of all our speakers charity and Willa, for engaging so deeply with these questions and really thinking about it and I hope that we provided a lot of food for thought for everybody in the virtual room and that you will continue to talk about it and think about it, and join us at the trust project in this work whether formally or informally so thanks again and enjoy the rest of owning. Thanks.