FRONTLINE Joins the Trust Project to Curb the Rising Influence of Misinformation
Mar. 18, 2020 (Boston) – Fake local news sites and frightening headlines about the coronavirus can leave readers and viewers struggling to tell the difference between fact and fiction; between fair, accurate news and stories that are misleading, false and even dangerous.
Starting today, FRONTLINE, the flagship investigative documentary series of the Public Broadcasting Service produced at WGBH, is taking another step to help the public recognize the real thing by joining the Trust Project, a global consortium of news organizations that implement standards of transparency, called Trust Indicators, to help audiences evaluate the quality, integrity and reliability of journalism.
“In these uncertain and unprecedented times, Americans depend on media outlets to deliver high-quality, trustworthy news,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer, Raney Aronson-Rath. “At FRONTLINE, this is a critical part of our series’ DNA. We are proud to be the first U.S. public media organization to join the Trust Project in an effort to combat misinformation and promote truth-seeking journalism.”
FRONTLINE joins 32 other reliable news sites run by seven news organizations that have committed to the rigorous standards and disclosures of the global Trust Project. FRONTLINE is the first American public broadcast program to feature the project’s Trust Indicators, which help the audience understand who and what is behind a news story, enabling people to cut through the noise and make informed decisions about what to read and share. The incoming news partners extend the Trust Indicators’ reach in the United States, Canada, Spain and Hong Kong, making them available on more than 200 news sites to hundreds of millions people a month.
“We are proud of the hard work and commitment to the public shown by FRONTLINE,” said Sally Lehrman, founder and chief executive of the Trust Project. “As the Trust Project expands and more news sites adopt the Trust Indicators, now a globally accepted standard, we can slow the spread of false and misleading news and amplify the valuable journalism produced by reputable news organizations across the world.”
In order to join the Trust Project, news outlets must go through a rigorous approval and compliance process. The March 2020 launch includes major international, regional, local and independent organizations. In addition to FRONTLINE, sites are joining the Trust Project from many parts of the world. The South China Morning Post is the first Trust Project news partner in Asia. Cambio 16, a current affairs magazine published in Madrid, strengthens the Trust Indicators’ presence in Europe – home to one quarter of the Trust Project’s news partners. The National Observer and CTV News extend the Trust Indicators to every province in Canada. The Southern California News Group and the Denver Post, which reach important local and regional U.S. markets.
The Project’s news partners work together to present and strengthen the Trust Indicators, which highlight the standards and commitments that separate journalism from every other kind of information. The Trust Project also works with civic and news literacy organizations to use the Trust Indicators to enhance people’s ability to choose trustworthy news.
The Trust Indicators connect user needs and wants to the underpinnings of journalistic integrity. They include: Best Practices, Author/Reporter Expertise, Type of Work, Citations and References, Methods, Locally Sourced, Diverse Voices, and Actionable Feedback. For more information on each Trust Indicator, visit the Trust Project FAQ.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 22 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Heising-Simons Foundation and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
About the Trust Project:
The Trust Project is a global network of news organizations working to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy and inclusion. The project created the Trust Indicators, which are a collaborative, journalism-generated standard for news that helps both regular people and the technology companies’ machines easily assess the authority and integrity of news. The Trust Indicators are based in robust user-centered design research and respond to public needs and wants. For more, visit thetrustproject.org.
The Trust Project is funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Democracy Fund, Facebook, Google and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.