Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Representing Trust in Digital Journalism

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Abstract:  This article examines how journalists at two prominent news organizations have aimed to portray trustworthy digital reporting of marginalized communities. The case study draws on the concepts of engagement and trust as a resource to evaluate journalists’ articles and the related audience comments on The New York Times and The Washington Post digital sites. This study analyzed the digital news articles and audience comments in 2012 and the latter half of 2022 during the rapid expansion of mobile audiences and American readers’ declining trust in newspapers. As this study discovered, journalists at the two legacy organizations have portrayed novel forms of reporting relating to fresh notions of enhancing readers’ trust as well as elements of transparency and interactivity in the news. They have represented trustworthy journalism based on an inclusive approach and personalized depictions of marginalized communities’ experiences to appeal to readers increasingly using mobile devices. Although the journalists’ stories attracted some toxic tweets, their articles also encouraged digital subscribers’ loyalty and enthusiasm to help solve the reported problems affecting marginalized communities. This study indicates the possibilities of fostering trustworthy interactions among journalists and engaged subscribers in digital news spaces.

Keywords:  digital journalism; journalist–audience interaction; news coverage; marginalized communities; media trust; The New York Times; The Washington Post



© Caryn Coatney. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.