What is it? The Newsroom Transparency Tracker is the latest tool introduced by The Trust Project today (4 June 2019) in collaboration with PEN America.

The tracker displays what public information is available on a range of journalistic policies and practices, for 52 selected news organisations mainly in the US and the UK. This includes national media outlets like The Guardian as well as regional players such as the Los Angeles Times.

It is informed by a collaborative team of 100 senior news executives within the Trust Project network.

Cost: Free

How is it of use to journalists?

Journalists can use the chart to help determine how trustworthy a news organisation is, generally. It based on the openness of their policies and practices, but can also be a useful resource to find relevant media organisation information.

For each of the selected organisations, four 'trust indicators' are used as main categories: best practices, journalistic expertise, type of work and diverse voices.

These are divided into sub-categories or 'attributes'. Best practice, for example, is split into nine different attributes, from ethics policy to newsroom contact information.

These are all displayed across the top row of chart, totalling 14 attributes in all. Then there is an extra attribute in the final column which simply denotes whether they are Trust Project partners or not.

If you are unsure what exactly what each attribute entails, you can hover over the attribute in the top row and it will display a quick definition. Alternatively, the FAQ has a useful breakdown of the individual attributes.

tracker 2

You will see the chart populated by lots of blue and white circles, and some only half filled-in. Depending on the degree of transparency that organisation has published in regards to that attribute, that circle icon is either filled in full, in partial or left blank.

Full and partially-filled circles can be clicked on, which will take you directly to the page where the organisation's mandate on that specific criteria is stated.

As an example, by clicking on the Associated Press's blue circle in the Ethics Policy column, it will take you to the relevant page where this is set-out in full.

Struggling to find a particular news organisation? You can also use the search bar to find them, and you can also toggle the 'newsroom' column to show organisations in reverse-alphabetical order.

While this is just a cross-section of 52 organisations, there are a total of 122 news sites that The Trust Project works making other use of the trust indicators, including on Facebook.

Looking at a BBC News Facebook post for example, hit the 'information icon' that appears in the headline. Then under the 'policies and info', section The Trust project supplies links to the organisation's information just like before, including areas like ownership and funding, or corrections policy. Hit the link and it will take you there to see for yourself.

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