My work

Much of my work these days focuses on how news consumers decide what information to trust — and what journalists can do to demonstrate their own trustworthiness.

I run Trusting News, a project with a goal of empowering journalists to better demonstrate credibility and earn trust. The first phase of the project, focusing on using social media to build trust, has been published at In the second phase, newsrooms worked with me to interview their own news consumers about how they decide what brands and information to trust.

Now, 30 newsrooms are testing strategies based on what we learned in those interviews. Follow along on Medium.

In addition to the work on trust, I teach regularly for The Poynter Institute and the University of Florida.

I’m also working as the community manager for Gather, a site to support the community of practice of engaged journalists. It has been so exciting for me to watch the specialty of audience engagement grow up, and I’m thrilled to help support practitioners in this way.

Between these longer projects, I also have newsroom clients and speaking and training engagements. If you think we might work well together, head on over to this page for more details on that.

Journalism produced by my newsroom team

I sure miss my newsrooms days a lot of the time. Here are some of my favorite projects from my time inventing the community outreach team at the Columbia Missourian.

Academic work from when I was discovering engagement

Back in 2010-2011, I wrote and studied a lot about the emerging subject of audience engagement in journalism. Here are a few examples of that in-depth work.

  • A community engagement discussion guide for newsrooms: I wrote this near the end of my year as an RJI fellow. It’s designed to help individual newsroom staffs zero in on what their goals are and what might help get them there. It was informed by dozens of interviews I did with journalists, who all had different ideas about what community engagement meant for their own situations. 
  • Three kinds of engagement: outreach, conversation, collaboration: What I learned in dozens of interviews. Plus, my definition of audience engagement in journalism.
  • A survey of professional journalists: I helped design this survey, which gathered baseline data on what web analytics and audience engagement strategies were actually in use by daily newspaper editors.
  • My master’s thesis: This work reflects how I categorized types of community engagement work and how one newsroom I studied in-depth was attempting to change its culture.

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