Last year Colorado Public Radio became the first U.S. media outlet to become certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative, an international benchmark developed by Reporters Without Borders to recognize media outlets for their commitment to transparency and editorial standards.
The JTI certification process includes a public self-assessment of a media outlet’s editorial policies and procedures and an independent audit to validate that the media outlet meets JTI’s standards. AAM is accredited to conduct JTI audits and confirmed CPR’s certification.
We recently sat down with Kevin Dale, executive editor of CPR News, to learn more about the organization and how earning JTI certification helped CPR increase transparency and strengthen credibility.
AAM: What is Colorado Public Radio’s mission?
KEVIN DALE: Our mission is to deliver meaningful news, music and cultural experiences to everyone in Colorado using the power of the human voice in all its forms. At CPR News, we focus on audio and digital public service journalism. We want to create fair and accurate reporting around topics that impact people's lives. We are also working hard to better cover communities that have been traditionally ignored by media.
AAM: Why did you decide to participate in the Journalism Trust Initiative?
KEVIN DALE: Being a credible news source is critical to our mission. It’s also important that we raise donations to sustain and grow our newsroom. To achieve both, we need to be as transparent as possible. I felt that participating in JTI would first allow us to examine our newsgathering policies, and then help us become transparent with our audience about those policies.
AAM: Media outlets can complete the JTI self-assessment and publish a transparency report but must participate in an independent audit to become certified. Why did CPR want to achieve JTI certification?
KEVIN DALE: A news organization can say whatever it wants about its policies, but the audit is confirmation that CPR News is earnest in our goals of accuracy, fairness and transparency.
AAM: What did you learn during the process?
KEVIN DALE: By participating in JTI, we pulled together our processes and policies in a more structured way. We learned what policies might not have been clear enough and gained a better understanding of what is important to ensure we are meeting our mission.
AAM: What advice do you have for organizations considering participating in JTI?
KEVIN DALE: It is worth the time to ensure your policies are well-documented and that everyone in your news organization understands your company’s mission and goals, which in turn gives greater assurances to your audience. Credibility is our lifeblood, and we must protect and promote that.
To learn more about the benefits of participating in JTI, check out The 5 Ways the Journalism Trust Initiative Elevates Quality Journalism.