Why reporting standards are more important than ever before

As public trust in media continues to dwindle, the growing importance of credible and reliable reporting now seems more pertinent than ever. 

REUTERS/ USA TODAY NETWORK

By Sahar Amer |  Sep 30, 2019

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 found that positive perceptions of the press and journalism are continuing to diminish. Of the data taken from 75,000 people across 38 countries worldwide, only 42% agree that news media monitors and scrutinizes the powerful, and only 29% agree that the news media cover topics that are relevant to them. What’s also important to note is that there’s a substantial amount of people who are uncertain about the news, with 44%, almost half, neither agreeing nor disagreeing

Digital News Report, 2019
The growing pressure exerted by the new digital landscape, such as monetizing content and platforms, is having an effect on the way some news providers operate and how audiences trust the news. In many cases, meaningful and balanced journalism has been superseded by misinformation and clickbait stories to increase digital revenue. More nuanced examples such as the shuttering of Babe.net after their coverage of the Aziz Ansari case has acted as the centre point for discussions surrounding the growing importance of trusted and reliable reporting, as it’s journalistic ethics and standards were brought to question. 

“When people encounter information, they don’t just immediately believe it and so there is some sense they’re taking steps to validate or fact-check it.”

Anna Bateson, Chief Customer Officer, The Guardian 

Cases like the Babe.net/Ansari example are undoubtedly contributing to people’s negative perceptions of news media. As a result, it’s important that publications use trusted sources to drive authoritative content. Audiences are growing more and more skeptical and are seeking reputable news sources24% of people say they have stopped using news brands that have a ‘less accurate reputation’. Now, more than ever, is a time for publishers to put journalistic code of ethics and reporting at the forefront in order to retain audiences trust and loyalty

Accurate and reliable reporting

“Our commitment to accuracy and impartiality is writ large in the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Irrespective of developments in technology or society, that commitment remains at the heart of what we do, every day, all over the world.” 

Stephen J. Adler, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters 

In response to Trump’s accusations that Google is ‘suppressing the voices of Conservatives’, The Economist recently ran an experiment to test the validity of the statement, and in general, the accuracy and bias of news sites. The study compared 37 news sources on their ‘share of search results with a statistical prediction based on its output, reach and accuracy’. The results show that Reuters came on top for both highest accuracy score and almost exactly on center for bias – neither swaying left- or right-wing. 

Digital News Report, 2019

Strong and credible partnerships

Findings from the Reuters Digital News Report 2019 showed that more than half (55%) of the participants involved are still concerned about their ability to make clear definitions about real and fake news online. With intent to tackle this issue, publishers like Vice News and The New York Times have been creating ‘stories behind the reporting’ – articles exposing information on how a story was documented. 

Allowing the audience to make up their own opinion by showing them the wider picture presents transparency and trustworthiness as a publisher. Reuters Connect offers reliable reporting, providing customers with news and information publishers can trust. 

Reuters partners with a wide range of reliable sources to help power broad unbiased journalism, such as USA Today who similarly published an article earlier in February about racism in college yearbooks after it was revealed that a Virginia governor’s 1984 yearbook included a photo of a man in blackface. As a controversial story and in the midst of misinformation and disinformation, USA Today took necessary steps to be as transparent as possible by gathering substantial information and also publishing a ‘story behind the story’. 

Other partners include leading media organizations such as The Guardian, Africa24, Aflo, and BBC News who also scored highly in The Economist factual accuracy and political bias experiment.

Award-winning documentation

In April this year, Reuters was awarded a Pulitzer prize from Columbia University for investigative international reporting. Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo investigated the Inn Din massacre and were sentenced to 7 years in Yangon prison in September 2018. After a presidential amnesty, Lone and Soe Oo were released on the 7th May 2019. 

The Pulitzer committee recognized the Reuters team for “expertly exposing the military units and Buddhist villagers responsible for the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, courageous coverage that landed its reporters in prison.” 

Reuters was also acknowledged for their breaking news photography of the mass migration of Central and South Americans to the U.S. Border. The Reuters photographers were credited by Pulitzer for “a vivid and startling visual narrative of the urgency, desperation and sadness of migrants as they journeyed to the U.S. from Central and South America.”

REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

In a landscape peppered with fake news and misinformation, differentiating by reliable and balanced journalism is an essential in order to retain audience trust. Reuters Connect offers customers the ability to tell trusted stories at pace. Sign up for instant access to Reuters Connect for news you can trust.