Trusting News, a project hosted by the American Press Institute and the Reynolds Journalism Institute and founded by journalist Joy Mayer, is becoming an independent organization. After five years of being fiscally sponsored by the American Press Institute, Trusting News is growing and entering a new chapter.

Started in 2016, Trusting News aims to demystify trust in news and empower journalists to demonstrate credibility and actively earn trust with their communities. In 2019, the American Press Institute became a fiscal sponsor and a co-host of the project along with the Reynold Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.  Over the course of five years, with significant financial and logistical support from API and RJI, Trusting News has provided actionable impact across the journalism industry.

“I’m so grateful for the years of collaboration, leadership and support from both RJI and API,” said Mayer, Trusting News founder and director. “The work API does is so important, and I’m grateful to know I’ll be able to continue learning from colleagues there. The API team’s fingerprints are all over Trusting News, and I hope that doesn’t change.”

Trusting News has been primarily funded by third-party grants, and API will continue to fiscally sponsor some of Trusting News’ work, funded by grants from New Pluralists and the Henry Luce Foundation, through 2024. API supports news organizations as they build trusted relationships with their communities, and Trusting News has inspired and empowered thousands of journalists to do a better job of earning public trust.

“We’re proud to have hosted Trusting News and to help advise Joy and her team,” said Michael D. Bolden, API’s CEO and executive director. “Their efforts in helping news organizations build trust with readers has been essential for many newsrooms–and should be adopted by many more. Their workshops and thought leadership should be part of the tools used by any modern news organization to improve its relationship with members of the public.”

With API and RJI’s support, Trusting News has:

  • Launched a weekly Trust Tips newsletter with more than 2,600 subscribers and an average open rate of 45%. Weekly trust tips have been regularly included in API’s Need to Know newsletter and will continue to be highlighted as a resource for journalists.
  • Launched a Slack community for hundreds of journalists committed to building trust. 
  • Developed training programs that reach more than 2,000 journalists per year.
  • Launched step-by-step guides to earn trust with Trust Kits.
  • Developed partnerships with other journalism support organizations including co-leading the annual Advancing Democracy fellowship alongside Hearken and Solutions Journalism Network, and developing the Dimensions of Difference newsroom guide and training alongside Spaceship Media.

Trusting News has collaborated on many API programs, sessions and resources. The organization worked alongside API staff on election programming in 2020, participated in API’s Local News summits, regularly supported the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program and contributed to the API Inclusion Index work in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.

“It has been a privilege to help Joy and Trusting News build stronger relationships between newsrooms and their communities,” said Randy Picht, executive director of RJI. “When Joy and I first kicked around this idea eight years ago, we had high hopes, but to see the project not only make a real difference but continue to grow is exciting and a powerful reminder that this work is sorely needed. I’m eager to see their resources and support network become even stronger forces in the industry.”

As an independent organization, Trusting News is applying for tax-exempt status. Until that time, it will primarily be fiscally sponsored by Journalism Funding Partners. Joining staff members Joy Mayer and Lynn Walsh on the inaugural board of directors will be Andrew DeVigal, director of the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon; Reuben Stern, director of the Missouri School of Journalism’s New York program; and Richard T. Griffiths, retired head of CNN’s editorial quality control team. This initial board will lay the groundwork for the organization and will help set the strategic direction for Trusting News to expand its work.

“I never expected when I launched in 2016 that Trusting News would still exist in 2024,” Mayer said. “I’ve always said I wish the work weren’t so needed. And instead, it seems more needed every year. We’re committed to continuing to show up for journalists who are willing to invest in earning trust.”

The Trusting News team is actively fundraising to fully support its 2024 programming and to build a long-term endowment. If you would like to partner with Trusting News or would like to support its work, email


The American Press Institute supports local and community-based media through research, programs and products that foster healthy, responsive and resilient news organizations. API envisions an inclusive democracy and society, where communities have the news and information they need to make decisions and thrive.  API is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News/Media Alliance.


The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the Missouri School of Journalism empowers journalists with knowledge, tools and funding to strengthen the industry through practical innovation. RJI’s work crosses diverse specialties, including editorial content and methods, the evolution of advertising, innovation in management and the impact of new technologies. It also includes varied fields on campus such as law, computer science, marketing, education and other disciplines.

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