No surprises here: A new study on what makes audiences trust media ranks accuracy as vital.

By Kathy English for the Toronto Star

On the walls of the Atkinson Foundation, two floors above the Toronto Star’s newsroom, hangs a painting that provides vivid evidence of this organization’s longtime commitment to credibility.

It depicts a Norman Rockwell-like idealized view of the newsroom of the “Evening Star” in 1899, when the legendary Joseph E. Atkinson was at the helm as publisher and proprietor. It shows about a dozen journalists – men in waistcoats, bowties and eyeshades – sitting at wooden tables, pencils in hand, with newspapers and books strewn about. A lone woman in a long dress, her hair in a topknot, walks among them carrying a stack of papers.

On the wall hangs a poster adorned with gold stars and words that proclaim the mission of “A Paper for the People”: “Brightness, Accuracy, Enterprise.”

I had an opportunity to see this piece of art only recently. Given my role for the past nine years as “guarantor of accuracy” on the many platforms on which the Star publishes these days, it delighted me so to see this image that paints a picture of the importance of accuracy all those 117 years ago, when Atkinson was building his newspaper.

I thought about it this week on reading a new study on what makes people trust and rely on the news. The central finding of this report, done by the U.S.-based Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, was unsurprising: Accuracy is the single most critical reason why people trust a news organization.

Continue reading this on the Toronto Star’s website where it was originally published.