Research partnership aims to increase trust with Community Impact Newspaper readers

A four-month research partnership kicked off this week between Community Impact Newspaper and Trusting News project, a Reynolds Journalism Institute endeavor aimed at increasing trust between news readers and media outlets.

Community Impact Newspaper editions in Central Austin, Plano and Spring-Klein will participate in the project for the next 12 weeks, employing strategies proven to help make writers more accessible and responsive to readers by explaining their reporting process and efforts to maintain story balance.

The goal of the project is to increase engagement with print and digital audiences in these three markets. The more transparent the reporting process can be, the more trust readers have in the information source, according to prior Trusting News research. By the end of the four-month effort, Community Impact Newspaper will receive a personalized report and recommendations based on observations made throughout the experiment.

For more information about the Trusting News project and its research, click here. Newsrooms interested in participating can still sign up, according to Joy Mayer, a community engagement strategist based in Florida who helps lead the project. Mayer is a consulting fellow at the Reynolds Journalism and an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute and the University of Florida. She also spent 12 years teaching at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Meet the editors of our participating teams, which will also receive guidance from Engagement Coordinator Tara Pohlmeyer and Copy Chief Andy Comer:

Central Austin Editor JJ Velasquez | Plano Editor Daniel Houston | Spring-Klein Editor Vanessa Holt
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By Joe Lanane

Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.
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