Welcome members of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition!
First, congratulations on being a member of COFOIC. In the current climate of mistrust in news, your membership means a lot. It means that you have standards, and that you are a member in good standing of a group that also has high standards.
People understand that level of trust does not come easy.
The only problem in the modern, digital world is that the very symbol of trust that is membership in COFOIC is not visible as an online signal.
Google, Facebook, programatic advertisers and others can only use digital online signals to understand relationships of trust, and in the past there hasn’t been an online tool to demonstrate the power of your membership in COFOIC.
Now there is.
Jeff at COFOIC has taken an important step to help the social platforms and advertisers see that signal of trust is your membership in COFOIC by use of a small file on their site.
Just that small file is a digital signal of trust that will come to help your site thrive in a world where trust is so important, and yet so hard to find online.
So, that’s it. That first step has already been done for you, thanks to COFOIC.
What can you do?
Now, if you would like to take another small additional step to bolster your site, and contribute to the network of trust, you can do that.
COFOIC has researched this and recommends that you take the steps below in alignment with COFOIC’s strategy to ensure member newsrooms are seen as sources of high value, accurate journalism.
The costs and the technical hurdles are super low, and the benefits could be huge.
All your questions should be answered here, but if you have any more questions, feel free to talk to Jeff, or contact me, the founder of JournalList.
Thanks for your time, and thanks in advance very much for doing your part to help build the networks of trust.
You can learn much more about the concepts on other pages here on JournalList (perhaps our FAQ, or our About page) but in short it’s just this: You will place a small text file on your site, and that will let Google, Facebook and others know that you are a publisher who belongs to COFOIC.
You can put other groups you belong to in your file as well, and also the address of your social pages, a step designed to help cut down on others using your good name online without your permission.
And lastly, if you want, you can join JournalList to give yourself another sign of credibility, and to help build up the network of trust around Colorado, and around the world.
The first step is to build your trust.txt file.
You can do this one of two ways.
Option One: Build it yourself
While it may seem like code, and you have never written code, it is really very simple. This is a text file, so it has all formatting stripped away.
Here’s a hypothetical example from the Durango Herald:
#Durango Herald trust.txt file from Ballantine Communications Inc.
(You can see all the variables and more examples in the spec document.)
The way that file works is that anything with a # hashtag at the front is just a comment, something for people to read so they know what’s going on. You can say anything there.
Then you start the lines with one of these variables:
- belongto (one word)
- controlledby (one word)
After those, just put an equal sign with no spaces, and then the URL. That’s it!
Now save that document as a file called trust.txt, and go to Step 2.
Option Two: Have JournalList build it for you
If you like, we will be happy to build your text file for you. We provide that as a service to all members, and membership starts at just $9 per quarter, so you may want to consider joining by going to this page, or you can do it at the bottom of this page.
The next step is to post the file.
This is one of those things that is super easy, if you know how to do it and can remember your passwords to your hosting provider.
Probably you’ll be emailing the file to your website manager. That person knows where the other .txt files are found, typically in what is called the root directory.
You can refer your website manager to the spec document, or to help pages we have set up if you want to use our easy WordPress plugin, or if you don’t want to use the plugin and your site is on WordPress with (root access) or on Wix.
If you need further help, please be in touch.
Why Join JournalList?
JournalList is a 501(c)6 nonprofit owned by the members. It has one job: management of trust.txt framework and documents. Membership fees are the only source of revenue, and all activities, finances, and records of the organization are posted every month.
Here are a few things to consider about becoming a member:
- It will be an additional sign of trust for you as you will be listed on the JournalList site and in our trust.txt file as a member in good standing.
- You will get a badge that you can put on your site showing your membership.
- It will mean that you can be found by search platforms, social networks, programatic ad buyers and others in one step, instead of two.
- You will become a part of the member-owned organization, ensuring that this continues to be owned and managed entirely by publishers.
- You will be eligible to serve on JournalList working groups, or on the board, and vote on board elections and have your voice heard in other important decisions.
- JournalList will create your trust.txt file for you.
If you have any other questions, please contact Scott Yates, founder of JournalList.
If you are ready to join, just pick your level here and sign up and you will be on your way! (Levels are totally self-selected, pick whichever one you think is appropriate. You can always change later.)
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