The Miami Herald: Explaining why and how a newsroom makes political recommendations

Using transparency techniques to increase trust in politics reporting

The Challenge

Many news consumers and potential voters do not understand that some journalists are paid to share their opinions — that political endorsements or recommendations are a part of the mission. They definitely don’t understand or assume that those endorsements are (typically) researched and written completely separately from the news operation.

The Strategy

It’s up to journalists to make the distinction clear, and they should do so at every opportunity. The Miami Herald wrote an explanation to add to day-to-day coverage and also created social media posts to take the message to younger and potentially less experienced news consumers where they’re already getting information.

The Outcomes

The responses provide good reminders that the explanations are valued (high engagement) AND that they are desperately needed (confusion in the comments).


The Lessons

It’s reasonable for journalists to be frustrated that people see an endorsement from the opinion team and interpret it as evidence of a liberal bias in news coverage. But it’s not reasonable to do nothing about it. We can’t change that our communities do not understand our work, so we have to build explanations into the work — routinely and repeatedly.


Learn More

The Miami Herald’s opinion team has been working with Trusting News, which coaches newsrooms on transparency and engagement strategies to demonstrate credibility and earn trust. Get in touch at