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Journalists shouldn't call themselves 'storytellers' if they want the public to trust their reporting, study suggests


If you follow journalists on social media, you’ve probably seen at least one refer to themselves as a “storyteller” in their bio.

But a new study by two University of Cincinnati journalism professors suggests that may not be a great idea when it comes to gaining the public’s trust. Instead, reporters should emphasize their roles as neutral fact-gatherers and conveyors of information, not storytellers crafting narratives and portraying characters.

The insight comes as the news industry continues to struggle with a loss of trust from the public. The situation is especially critical in the U.S., which came in last among 46 countries in a Reuters Institute poll measuring trust in the media. Just 29% of U.S. respondents to that poll said they had trust in journalists.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss their recent research around journalism and "storytelling," as well as the broader state of public trust in news organizations, are University of Cincinnati Department of Journalism Interim Head and professor Dr. Brian Calfano and UC Journalism Professor Dr. Jeffrey Blevins.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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