David Walmsley is The Globe and Mail's editor-in-chief.
For more than two years, I have worked with a small group of technologists and journalists in Europe and North America to better explain journalism to our audience. We call it thetrustproject.org, and when it launched at the Newseum in Washington last month, it was before a sellout crowd. Interest in how journalism is pursued has never been higher, and The Trust Project is both simple of intent and laudable of ambition. Its application is difficult to deliver, but we must try.
Working with newsroom leaders in Scandinavia, Italy, England and across the United States, our big challenge has been settling on indicators that allow the audience to assess whether what they are reading is trustworthy. The industry recognizes it has to do a better job of telling its own story. Show as well as tell.
To that extent, The Globe and Mail commits to a transparent code of conduct for its journalists. We offer backstories on how our work evolved. This is especially the case involving some investigations that take months to complete. As a founding member of The Trust Project, The Globe offers other indicators too. This includes demonstrating a reporter's expertise and providing the methodology behind a final story.
Historically, we left the story to speak for itself, orphaned and in a vacuum. Especially with the creation of social media, that vacuum has since been filled by those who shout the loudest. So we are learning as an industry that if we show the techniques of our work, we can build trust with our audience.
We commit to offering more engagement with our staff as we tell you more about our techniques. We will explain how long our stories took to develop, report and write, and why.
I oversee a multimillion-dollar budget that is designed to bring you the best journalism on the planet, and each year we have to be better than the year before.
It is natural that when the news is available at our fingertips we don't consider the sweat and guts needed to create the daily miracle. So we will more frequently show you the bill that explains why good journalism is never free. Journalism has a price worth paying. We will more frequently reveal the number of people we interviewed for a story, how many were granted anonymity and the reasons anonymity was granted.
We know we have to do a better job of explaining there are stories that never see the light of day. That is difficult to convey when a story idea is not supported by the research and the facts, yet sometimes the decisions to spike a story gives readers the greatest insight into the standards we impose upon ourselves. We have to show more of our decision-making. To do so, we commit to bringing you inside the complexity of the modern newsroom in real time, offering our audience "ask-us-anything" sessions as we try to reduce the lack of awareness of what it is we do. We will return in 2018 more invigorated, as we employ these new storytelling techniques on ourselves.
Mark May 3 in your diary. May 3 is already World Press Freedom Day, a day of advocacy recognized, inconsistently at best, by the global industry. We now intend to add to the theme by placing the audience at the forefront with the creation of the inaugural World News Day. The plan is for a day of live events and advocacy across the continents, focusing on what responsible and trusted journalism has meant to you, the audience. You tell your own stories back to the industry, and through us, to the wider world.
As we celebrate the holidays and absorb a year of headlines reporting epic wins, losses, selflessness and greed from the past year, let us also remember that too many journalists paid the ultimate price to bring the news home.
I am often asked what sticks with me through the millions of words I read and thousands of photographs I look at, and surprisingly, perhaps guardedly, there are usually one or two moments that stay with me. Occasionally happy, usually sad. This year, there is no single story but there is a single photograph. It is set on a street in Mexico, where a balding man lies dead, his trademark fedora alone beside him. That was Javier Valdez Cardenas, shot dead in cold blood by unidentified killers. He was an investigative reporter who believed in the river of ideas. He pushed hard against drug cartels and wrote the truth. He was trusted.