Trust.txt Goes Global with GFMD and Impress

We at JournalList are thrilled to announce two groundbreaking new members of our trust.txt initiative: the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), the groundbreaking umbrella organization representing the media development community, and Impress, the esteemed English organization with standards for news outlets.

While we have always technically been global, our membership had been largely based in the U.S. This announcement marks a significant milestone in our mission to foster transparency and trust across the digital news ecosystem on a global scale.

Uniting for a Transparent Future

The addition of the GFMD and Impress to the JournalList family is not just an expansion of our network; it is a profound endorsement of the trust.txt protocol from leading figures in international media development and standards. Their commitment to adopting and promoting trust.txt sends a powerful message about the importance of transparency in journalism and the critical role it plays in combating misinformation.

The Global Forum for Media Development brings together more than 180 media and media support organizations from around the world, dedicated to supporting journalism that holds power to account and promotes democratic values. By implementing trust.txt, GFMD is strengthening its network’s integrity, ensuring that its members are recognized as credible sources of information.

Similarly, Impress, as the English regulatory body for news outlets, literally sets the standards for journalistic practice in one of the world’s most influential media landscapes. Their adoption of trust.txt is a testament to their commitment to upholding the highest standards of trust and accountability in journalism. The participation of Impress encourages its members to follow suit, amplifying the impact of trust.txt across English media.

Picture of a globe from 1510, courtesy New York Public Library

A Leap Forward in International Adoption

This announcement comes at a pivotal moment on both a large and on a logistical scale.

On the large scale, trust in journalism is more needed than ever. The headwinds for journalism are well documented, and the addition of AI to the landscape has only made life more difficult. Just last week the board of JournalList approved a new version of the specification document meant to address one aspect of the AI phenomenon, the theft of content for use in Large Language Models.

On a more logistical level, this announcement comes just before two important journalism conferences.

The best known is the annual journalism conference in Perugia, Italy. As industry leaders, innovators, and practitioners from around the globe gather to discuss the future of journalism, the spotlight will be on the transformative potential of initiatives like trust.txt. The conference provides an opportunity to showcase the benefits of our protocol to a global audience, sparking conversations about transparency, trust, and the fight against misinformation.

Less well known, but as crucial as any organization in the world of getting news delivered around the world, is the International Press Telecommunications Council, which will be meeting in New York City. If you think that trusted news and photos just magically travel from the source of the news to the news providers and then out to publishers and the world, well, you are right. It is magic, and the organization behind the magic is the standards body known as the IPTC. The IPTC has published a trust.txt file for more than two years, and was the one toe-hold that we had with an international body before today’s announcement.

The inclusion of GFMD and Impress in our initiative is a beacon of hope for the future of journalism. It underscores the universal relevance of trust.txt and sets the stage for its adoption by news organizations and associations worldwide. Their involvement is a clear indication that the movement towards a more transparent and trustworthy digital information landscape is gaining momentum.

Join Us on This Journey

As we celebrate this significant milestone, we extend an invitation to other news organizations, associations, standards bodies, and stakeholders in the media ecosystem to join us in this crucial endeavor. The challenges posed by misinformation and the erosion of trust in media are not confined to any one country or region—they are global concerns that require a unified response. We understand that as a technical standard meant to be used only by robots, trust.txt is not the only solution needed, but it is one that amplifies and enhances the other initiatives and, most importantly, the trusted relationships that exist now that are invisible to the robots that decide what computer users look at every hour of every day.

Together, with the Global Fund for Media Development, Impress, and longtime members of JournalList ranging from Digital Content Next and the Alliance for Audited Media to press associations like the Texas Press Association and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and forward-thinking service providers like eTypeServices and so many more, we are paving the way for a future where news consumers can easily discover and count on trusted sources of information.