This week, Xtra Magazine marks a signature achievement in our near 40-year history: we’ve become a member of The Trust Project, an international consortium of news outlets committed to transparency, accuracy, inclusion and fairness. Xtra is the first queer publication to earn The Trust Project’s Trust Mark (the little T logo now appearing on our stories and website). That means readers can verify for themselves that our journalism is accurate, accountable and ethically produced by using The Trust Project indicators.
“Generations of LGBTQ2S+ readers have turned to Xtra Magazine for news and views they can trust,” says Gordon Bowness, executive editor of Xtra. “It’s fantastic that we now have The Trust Project’s stamp of approval; current and future readers will have an even clearer understanding of how we work to earn that trust.”
Among the many changes we’ve instituted: we have bolstered our principles and standards pages; we commit to publishing annually a diversity review of our newsroom; we explain why certain stories are labelled news, analysis or opinion; and for more in-depth investigative stories, we will provide details on the methods and sources used.
The ability to access and identify trusted journalism is more important than ever as Meta is actively blocking news from the Instagram and Facebook feeds of Canadians. The tech giant began removing news from its platforms in August 2023 as a response to Bill C-18, legislation that would force big tech companies to compensate Canadian media organizations for hosting news content on their platforms.
“How ironic that we have achieved this milestone at the exact time when a giant corporate entity like Meta, through its blockade of Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram, is threatening the very survival of independent media outlets like us, depriving our readers of a critical source of trusted journalism while allowing bad-faith actors and disinformation pedlars free rein on their platforms,” Bowness says.
Dating back to 2012, The Trust Project was born out of concern over the rising tide of misinformation and disinformation online. Since then, the organization has worked collaboratively with top news outlets and search platforms to identify the qualities that underpin trustworthy news, condensing them down into eight trust indicators. Boiled down, the indicators express a commitment to fairness, accuracy and transparency—whether it’s providing relevant information on our writers, detailing who publishes Xtra or keeping an open channel for readers to engage with us.
Serving LGBTQ2S+ audiences is at the heart of Xtra’s mission. Our partnership with The Trust Project is one more step in our ongoing journey to improve that vital service.