Using the Trust Indicators

With misinformation becoming more present in the media viewers encounter every day, it is important to know which sources to trust and determine whether or not the stories we are reading are informative and accurate. Through using the Trust Indicators, I examined the Arizona Daily Independent and the Scottsdale Independent to see how they measure up to the Trust Indicators.

The Arizona Daily Independent (ADI)

  • Initially, the appearance of the ADI website took me by surprise because it does not look as professional as other news websites I have seen. It does not look bad, but it does seem very minimalistic and does not provide description previews for the articles that are on the homepage. When looking at the homepage, it almost appears like a fake website.
  • Upon further research, the website does have a list of rules that it follows and states that it is not a partisan website. It also clearly states that the ADI does not accept sponsored or deceptive content. 
  • The ADI does provide diverse perspectives, including experts and students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. By providing journalism students with the opportunity to write for a professional publication, it provides fresh perspectives on various subjects and helps bring diversity. Additionally, most students are local Arizonans, which helps ensure accuracy on topics taking place within the state.
  • However, there is not a staff biography page that provides information on all of the journalists for this website.
  • The ADI allows readers to participate by allowing comments, sharing, and subscriptions. However, the ADI maintains that they do not tolerate obscene comments, personal attacks, or spam and reserve the right to maintain such comments.
  • It is not always obvious how ADI writers undergo the process of writing their articles, as some are rather short and do not go as in depth.

Overall, I think that the Arizona Daily Independent lives up to the trust indicators outlined by the Trust Project. Despite being minimalistic in its website design, the ADI is trustworthy in their articles and strives to maintain a nonpartisan journalistic integrity that ensures accurate, factual news telling. It would be better if they provided more information about their journalists and where they are from on a staff biography page. This would provide more context as to who is writing the articles and how diverse the website actually is.

The Scottsdale Independent (SI)

  • Unlike the Arizona Daily Independent, the Scottsdale Independent has a more polished website layout. It is not as minimalistic as the ADI, but it is not overly busy and therefore looks like a more professional site at first glance. However, most articles are behind a paywall, which makes it difficult to access the stories. It is also part of a larger news network that encapsulates other cities in Arizona. 
  • The website has a long, clear list of goals, mission statements, guidelines, and rules that its journalists abide by. 
  • Additionally, the SI has a page with biographies for its journalists that describes their roles, biographies, and accolades. The journalists for SI are very diverse and are composed of people from a variety of ages, ethnicities, and genders, which provides a variety of perspectives. It also provides information on where in Arizona each journalist resides, which helps to clarify their knowledge on subjects pertaining to certain regions of the state. 
  • The SI is behind a paywall and therefore makes it difficult for readers to participate if they do not have a monthly subscription. While people who wish to comment may also create a free account, they may not be able to access all stories that are posted on the site and therefore miss out on information on some topics.
  • It is easier to determine the processes journalists took to produce their stories because most stories are longer and provide more context. 

Overall, the Scottsdale Independent does a good job at living up to the standards created by the Trust Indicators and is a trustworthy site. It has very clear, thorough guidelines and is a very professional site. However, it is difficult to access their content due to the paywall some of the articles are behind and the need to create an account to comment on or share articles. If it were easier to access content, the site would get more feedback from readers who may be knowledgeable about the topics reported on.

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