This paper explores trust-building strategies in future-oriented news discourse, marked by a high degree of uncertainty. While current research mainly focuses on audiences’ perceptions of news credibility, this study addresses news trust from a production standpoint. We examine the trust-building efforts of media actors, focusing on their discursive labor within the context of election projections. Drawing on rich data from five election rounds in Israel and the US, we qualitatively analyzed 400 news texts and 400 tweets that were produced by 20 US and 20 Israeli media actors. This textual analysis was supplemented by 10 in-depth interviews with Israeli journalists. Our findings demonstrate three types of journalistic trust-building rhetoric in election coverage: facticity, authority, and transparency. These strategies result in a two-fold form of trust, which re-affirms traditional notions of accuracy and validity, while also challenging the ability of newspersons to obtain them in contemporary political and media cultures. Overall, these strategies hold unique opportunities and challenges for sustaining public trust in journalism and illuminate the complex communicative labor involved in building trust with news audiences. Our findings also highlight the importance of studying trust not only in relation to the past and the present, but also in future-oriented discourse.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the European Research Council [ERC StG 802990]. This study is part of the PROFECI research project (‘Mediating the Future: The Social Dynamics of Public Projections’, http://profeci.net/). We are indebted to Michal Salamon, Shahar Birotker, Keshet Galili, Dina Michaely, Aviv Mor, and Sonia Olvovsky who worked as research assistants for this project, and to Naama Weiss Yaniv and Adiba Abu Sakha for the coordination of the project. We would also like to thank Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Yariv Tsfati, Nikki Usher, Christian Pentzold, Michal Hamo, Roni Danziger, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, and the members of the ‘Israeli Discourse Forum’ for their enlightening comments and suggestions in different phases of this study. Finally, we wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editors of Journalism Studies for their valuable comments on this manuscript.
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Election coverage
- news production
- news trust
- textual analysis