How-to: four ways to make your media outlet credible

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When media opens a “fire hose” (CBC) of information at their audience, the likelihood of this information to be unfiltered is high. This makes it difficult for the audience to seek out trustworthy sources that provide clear evidence and fresh perspective. Both the outlet and the audience are responsible for mutual trust: the outlet has to prove itself trustworthy and the audience has to be educated and intuitive, with a scoop of curiosity to dig beyond what is presented. To stay on top of the media food chain and earn the title of a credible source, follow these four easy steps:

Provide trustworthy evidence

To create a credible ethos, provide solid and researched evidence to back up your information. This also builds your network’s reputation and establishes trust between you and your audience; people will rely on your for accurate news. The brand and the reputation you create are the first factors that make your journalism more credible.

Avoid bias

A credible media outlet illustrates a controversial topic from both sides, instead of approaching it as a competition between the “good guy” and the “bad guy”. This portrayal often ends up biased. To avoid unwanted conflict, try to present unbiased information by researching both sides. Still, remember that even your greatest efforts will always leave someone unhappy with your final product. Reporting unbiased news is difficult due to the omnipresent ideologies in any media outlet. Still, you can create a setting for a fair debate between the “good guy” and the “bad guy”; then display the benefits and the detriments of both.

Keep it fresh

Keep the audience up to date with current news that the audience can relate to. Kovach and Rosenstiel  suggest that to stir a wanted reaction, the news you report on have to be in close physical proximity to the audience. Don’t forget to provide a fresh perspective if you want your audience to come back. Go beyond simple reporting – triple-check your facts and concisely present them with new insights and analysis. Leave the intended audience thinking at length.

Give them what they need

Most important of all, remember that your audience is looking for truth. A credible and trustworthy journalist knows that his or her first responsibility is to the citizens (Kovach and Rosenstiel). Therefore, make sure that you enable your people to make informed choices by staying true to them and their needs.

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