One of the most enduring challenges that Turkish independent journalism faces is distrust. The Trusting News project offers innovative perspectives and tested solutions to foster the engagement of audiences. In the second event of the Turkey Digital News Accelerator masterclass series, Lynn Walsh, the associate director of Trusting News, presents examples of how to engage with users, listen to them, and act on their feedback in ways to build a trusting relationship with the community. 

Hosted by Istanbul-based journalist Gülsin Harman.

Read the workshop recap below ⇓



Walsh began by setting the stage with data and research about where trust in journalism stands in the world, highlighting that trust in news rebounded globally. However, in spite of this positive general trend, problems with trust persist on the local scale. Walsh said that while there are problems on both sides of the broken relationship between journalists and their audience, journalists need to own the solutions. She added that the job of journalists is to explain why their work is trustworthy.

Walsh told the audience that journalists can earn the trust of their readers primarily by engaging with them. Engagement with the audience entails sharing one’s intentions with the readers and receiving their feedback. However, it is not always that journalists can easily hear back from their audience. In such cases, the main question a journalist should ask is “what are the obstacles in my relationship with my community?”

Walsh continued by giving examples of concrete ways of collecting insights about an audience’s perception of a newsroom and systematically identifying trends. Among these are asking the newsroom’s staff to note down what they hear from their readers, gathering this feedback and looking for trends. Another way is to directly ask for people’s perceptions, frustrations, and suggestions via online surveys. One important element of receiving feedback from the audience is being responsive to the feedback and sustaining the dialogue.

Walsh said that comments from the readers most often reveal their assumptions about a given journalistic work. She emphasized that these assumptions are key to revealing information gaps represented by questions such as “how did the journalists work to be fair?” and “how was the journalism funded?”. Having identified the information gaps, it is critical for journalists to address these gaps by talking to the audience using humility, diplomacy, and the right tone.

“We know that by being transparent about your intentions you can build trust with your community”, said Walsh before bringing the Master Class to an end.


Meet the trainer

Lynn Walsh, Assistant Director, Trusting News

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative journalism at the national level and locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. Currently, she is the Assistant Director at Trusting News. She is the former Ethics Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and a past national president for the organization. Based in San Diego, Lynn is also an adjunct professor and freelance journalist.

Facilitator and host: Gülsin Harman, IPI Turkey, Journalist

Gülsin Harman is an Istanbul-based journalist who frequently contributes to the New York Times and BBC Monitoring. After the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 2020, she received a grant from the European Journalism Center to develop a newsletter. She was selected to join the Product Immersion Program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and invited to the News Product Alliance Product Expansion Program.

As a researcher, she looked into the online harassment of journalists in Turkey for the International Press Institute in 2016. The detailed investigation resulted in a public database and case profiles featured in a report published by the Institute for the Future. In 2020, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (BKC) at Harvard University selected her to be a participant in the Assembly Fellowship program which brings members of the cohort of technologists and public policy leads to develop interventions in the areas of disinformation.


More to come!

This special master class is part of “Turkey Digital News Accelerator 2022”, a series of expert online and hybrid workshops on digital transition and innovations for journalists in Turkey.



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Previous master classes

If you missed our last master class on innovation in journalism with Aron Pilhofer of News Catalyst – or if you just want to rewatch! – the recording is available on IPI’s YouTube channel.