Benjamin Toff joins the Reuters Institute to lead the Trust in News Project
The Trust in News Project is a new three-year program starting in the summer of 2020 looking across Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States to understand what digital news sources people trust, why people invest their trust in them, and what publishers and platforms can do to help people make decisions about what news to trust online. It is run by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and based on a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project announced earlier this year.
Over the next three years, this independent research project will involve research, industry engagement, and journalist fellowships to help us better understand the drivers of trust in different contexts and for different audiences, and identify actionable, evidence-based recommendations for publishers, platforms, and others working on issues around trust and news.
Dr Benjamin Toff will join the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism as Senior Research Fellow this summer to lead the project, working with the two principal investigators, our Director Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and our Research Team Leader Dr Richard Fletcher, and a team of post-doctoral research fellows.
After working at The New York Times, Ben completed a PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford before joining the University of Minnesota. He has won multiple awards from both the American Political Science Association and the International Communication Association for his research. Dr Toff will retain a partial faculty appointment at the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota while working on the project, and will return to his position there in the summer of 2023.
The Trust in News Project builds on the Reuters Institute's ongoing commitment to evidence-based, substantially important, and practically relevant international research on journalism, news, and media, and covers markets which account for more than one billion internet users and a wide range of media systems and contexts.
In response to the appointment, Hubbard School Director and Professor Elisia Cohen said: “We are delighted both that Dr. Toff was selected to guide this research project and that he will remain as a faculty member at Minnesota involving students in these initiatives. Dr. Toff is an accomplished interdisciplinary political journalism scholar and mentor. The Hubbard School is delighted to partner with the Reuters Institute in support of collaborative research and dissemination efforts in line with its Trust in News Project goals.”
Rasmus Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute, said: “Earning and maintaining trust is one of the most important challenges facing not only the news media, but also platform companies, politicians, and many other key actors in public life. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Toff back to lead on the Trust in News Project. His track record as a journalist, as a researcher, and as someone committed to high-quality, internationally-oriented work is a perfect fit for the project and for the Reuters Institute.”