7 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 26
Poll after poll shows a steady decline of public trust in what used to be considered mainstream, reliable news media. A recent Gallup/Knight survey showed only 26% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the news media while 53% have a negative view. For this Ethics Week program, SPJ presents a discussion on multiple efforts to restore the public’s trust in real journalism, and how the Society of Professional Journalists has been an inspiration and now a partner in these efforts.
Sally Lehrman, an SPJ Wells Memorial Key winner, founded and is CEO of the Trust Project, an international coalition she begin building in 2014. It has a three-step process to help responsible media outlets distinguish themselves from the myriad of information sources available to the public. She held the Knight-Ridder Chair in Journalism in the Public Interest at Santa Clara University from 2008 to 2013 and was a member of the boards of both SPJ and its Foundation. She is a freelance writer and book author.
Beth Potter, U.S. regional manager of the Journalism Trust Initiative, recently was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and serves on the board of the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter. The JTI was created in 2019 by Reporters Without Borders and has a process involving self-assessment, disclosure and external audit for media to establish their credibility. Potter has worked in journalism at levels from reporter to publisher, and as a journalism educator.
Lynn Walsh, the 2016-17 national president of SPJ, is assistant director of Trusting News, which works with news organizations to help the public understand how journalism is supposed to work, explaining news processes, coverage goals and journalism ethics. Walsh is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and investigative reporter who has also been active in SPJ’s Freedom of Information and ethics committees. Most recently, she led the NBC Investigates and NBC 7 Responds teams at San Diego’s KNSD-TV.
Fred Brown is a former SPJ national president and Wells Memorial Key winner who currently heads SPJ’s Professional Standards and Ethics Committee. For most of his career, he was a political reporter, editor and columnist for The Denver Post. He also taught media ethics at the University of Denver and is the editor/author of SPJ’s media ethics textbook.