The crisis of trust in media and technology is driving us apart, contributing to a culture of contention and disinformation that puts our democracy at risk. Much of the focus has centered on journalism – “fake news,” concerns about bias, a focus on conflict.
But the trust crisis isn’t only a news problem. It permeates almost every institution. Our daily lives are increasingly governed by the tyranny of the algorithm, often appealing to our most visceral emotions. The economic incentives for speaking to those impulses are powerful: Disharmony is profitable.
The Consortium is built to look across all communication fields, with an emphasis on better understanding how technology influences the way we interact with information. We foster a diverse community of scholars and thought leaders to study ways to build trust and apply what we learn, drawing scholars from across disciplines at the University of Florida to bring their best thinking to the task. Our Trust Scholars have come from the fields of journalism, psychology, agriculture, architecture, political science, engineering, education and philosophy.
Our mission: Develop insights backed by research. Identify opportunities for practical application. Get that work into the field so that it can make a difference.
The Consortium Team
Janet Coats is the Managing Director of the Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology. Her job is to serve as a convener, looking for opportunities for researchers, practitioners and educators to work together. She manages internal and external partnerships as well as daily operations.
Prior to joining the Consortium, Coats was the Executive Director of Innovation and Strategy at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She’s been a pioneer in trust and engagement efforts in newsrooms across the country, both as a newsroom leader and as a consultant. For 10 years, she was chief executive officer of Coats2Coats, a consulting company focused on journalism innovation and engagement. Her clients included public radio stations across the nation and journalism collaboration funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Coats worked in daily journalism for more than 25 years. She served as Executive Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Tampa Tribune. Her bachelor’s degree in journalism is from the University of Missouri.
Kendall Moe is an Administrative Specialist for the Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in Linguistics in 2020. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Special Education on the Dyslexia track at UF. A lifelong Floridian, she was born and raised in West Palm Beach.
Dana Cassidy is a researcher for the Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology, and a University of Florida undergraduate senior studying journalism and artificial intelligence. She is both a programmer and a journalist with a passion for machine learning. She previously interned at the Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, and The Palm Beach Post, was a managing editor of The Independent Florida Alligator, and worked as a political reporter for Fresh Take Florida.