The Trust Project Challenge

Status: active
How can we differentiate high-quality news from the noise online?
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News Labs and BBC Connected Studio are helping The Trust Project organise their Trust Project Challenge - a two-day hack event aimed at signalling trustworthiness in online news.

Participants will develop their ideas for a tool that allows newsrooms to implement — and audiences to benefit from — one of nine ‘Trust Indicators’ identified by global industry leaders.

If you are interested in entering a team you can contact us via Twitter @BBC_News_Labs.

The Trust Project

The Trust Project has been established to explore how journalism can stand out from the crowd by signalling its trustworthiness. To do this it wants to develop tools and technologies that differentiate high-quality news from noise online. It envisions a system of ‘Trust Indicators’ which will supply audiences and news distribution platforms with evidence of trustworthy reporting, such as accuracy, transparency and inclusion. The Project is run out of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Journalists and collaborators from 20 different news organisations helped define nine ‘Trust Indicators’ and suggested standards for each at the Trust Project Summit in May. The Trust Indicators are a centrepiece of the Trust Project Challenge, as teams will be asked to build tools that put one or more into practice.

Trust Indicators

  • Best practices (ethics policy, diversity policy, corrections, etc.)
  • Author biographies
  • Citations and references
  • Labels for new, analysis, opinion, and paid content
  • Original reporting
  • Diverse voices
  • Actionable feedback for public and newsroom
  • Local
  • Geo-tag story location

You can learn more about the indicators on the Trust Project’s Trello board.

The Trust Project Challenge

Participants are tasked with building simple, open-source plug-ins or other tools that allow newsrooms to implement and audiences to benefit from the Trust Indicators.

Ideally, the tool will be browser-based or compatible with news organisations’ Content Management Systems. It also needs to be practical to implement. One or more of the indicators may rely on an automated system external to newsrooms.

Teams are invited to think about:

  • How can we enable audiences to view and engage with one or more of the nine indicators?
  • How can we enable search engines and social media algorithms to read indicators easily?
  • How can the indicators interact as a single ‘Trust System’?
  • How can accountability be built into the indicators?
  • Can a ‘Trust System’ or a single indicator enhance revenue?

Each team should aim to be demographically diverse, and team members should have a variety of skills and backgrounds which should add up to the ability to develop the tool. Any idea taken to the next stage of development will need to be made freely available.

The categories for the Trust Project Challenge are:

  • Best user experience
  • Best machine-readable tool
  • Best newsroom tool
  • Surprise us!

Richard Gingras, Senior Director of News and Social Products at Google, and Sally Lehrman, Director, Journalism Ethics Program and the Trust Project, will both sit on the judging panel.

If you have any questions, please email connectedstudio@bbc.co.uk.


Next Priorities

  1. Host the Challenge with BBC Connected Studio on November 29th and 30th.
  2. Help evaluate the winning idea(s).