21st February 2023
Building trust: How journalists can regain the public’s faith

Building trust: How journalists can regain the public's faith

The work of the press should be central to a fit and functioning democracy, yet well over half of the public simply do not trust journalists.

Rebuilding that trust should be the primary goal of every member of the profession moving forward; after all, if people do not trust what they read, then the industry can’t carry out its most important duty – informing the public.

That is why, when we began developing our new Standards Code, building trust with the public was one of our most important aims.

In this blog, we take look at a number of ways journalists and publishers can help rebuild trust with their audiences and how our new Code will help in that pursuit.


We all want to live in a world where we can trust what we read online without having to worry about whether it has been properly fact-checked or not.

But too often we see news stories thrust into the public gaze with a hunger to be the first to report on a story, with verification often taking a backseat.

Carrying out thorough checks when referring to external sources, particularly when they appear online, is a simple yet effective way journalists can regain public trust, and is something we strongly urge publishers to do.

With rapid advances in technology, it is also important that the use of artificial intelligence is carefully considered, and human editorial oversight is put in place to ensure the veracity of information.

Key clause: 1.1

Fact or opinion?

We all know scandal and controversy sells in the media.

You will not have to look far to find ‘hot-takes’ on celebrity gossip, politics and divisive legislation, but is it always clear what’s actually fact and what’s merely opinion in this content?

The primary role for any news publication should be to inform the public. That is why we have set out guidelines for publishers to clearly label content on their sites which is based on opinion, so the distinction between fact and option is made clear to the reader, so they can judge the information being presented at face value.

Key clause: 1.2.3; 1.4.7

Sponsored content

With an increasingly competitive news market, publishers are looking to monetise content now more than ever.

But transparency is king when it comes to selling sponsored content, or ‘advertorials’, to businesses or individuals.

We ask that all news publishers clearly label sponsored content and paid coverage, to ensure they are being honest and transparent with their audience.

Key clause: 10.1

Impress recently launched its new Standards Code, to build trust, improve public safety and increase accountability. Each week, we will be delving into a different section in greater detail.