Brandon Doerrer
Sep 17, 2022

The Trust Project and Microsoft team up to fight fake news

A news literacy campaign from the global network of media organizations teaches people how to spot misinformation using Microsoft’s platforms.

The Trust Project and Microsoft team up to fight fake news

The Trust Project, a global network of over 200 media organizations, launched a campaign centered on news literacy and teaching the public how to spot misinformation.

Eight indicators of reliable news lay out what makes a story, and news sources in general, trustworthy. They range from having an experienced journalist cover the news to featuring diverse voices throughout the story.

Microsoft will feature these reliable news tenets on its news feed and on Outlook.

The Trust Project also worked with a dozen “ambassadors” who will tout news literacy to their respective communities. One such ambassador is Charles Cantu, the founder of marketing technology platform Reset Digital. In an interview with Black Enterprise Magazine, Cantu spoke about the importance of taking an active role in responsible news consumption.

Other ambassadors work in the arts, as journalists or as educators. Some simply have influence in their regional communities. 

The Trust Project didn’t disclose budget information for the campaign, but CEO Sally Lehrman said that the organization focused on having just enough funds to support the creative elements and the ambassadors.

Compose[d] worked on advertisements, messaging and digital strategy. Purpose Worldwide handled public relations.

“We wanted to make sure that the messaging always leaned towards the positive,” said Compose[d] founder and president Jason Parkin. “We’re staying away from anything negative or any fear-based narrative.”

The bipartisan campaign focuses on reaching the “anxious middle,” a group of news consumers that prioritize accuracy in the news above political leanings, and who often don’t know which media outlets to trust.

“We don’t differentiate any of these groups by political slant or party or leanings,” Lehrman said. “It’s more, how do they engage with the news?”

She added that being bipartisan is “core to the campaign because journalism is nonpartisan. That’s what true journalism with integrity looks like.”

Misinformation has been a problem in the news for years. The Trust Project felt that now was the right time to educate news consumers ahead of the U.S. primary elections, said Lehrman.

It’s particularly focused on active voters aged between 20 and 25, and those older than 50.

The Radio Television Digital News Association and the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Accelerating Social Transformation also assisted with the campaign by recruiting ambassadors and providing expertise on news literacy, respectively.

Newsguard, a tool that rates the credibility of news sites, released a report on Wednesday stating that TikTok search results are a chronic source of misinformation. The news rater partnered with media monitoring software Meltwater to alert users to misinformation.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently admitted that moderating misinformation around election seasons is a struggle on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

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