Fresno State’s Institute for Media and Public Trust was created just over six months ago, and we’ve had a great start in our quest to improve media literacy, fight fake news and bridge the trust gap between news outlets and news consumers.

Getting the Institute organized and funded have taken much of our time this year, but we also produced some quality programs that have helped with our mission. They include a high-profile program on free speech and the First Amendment on a university campus, and a panel discussion on journalism ethics.

We have taken our show on the road, with speeches by Executive Director Jim Boren to the Rural County Representatives of California in Napa and the California Press Foundation in San Francisco. Those were opportunities to expand the reach of the Institute beyond the San Joaquin Valley.

We also are working with the Fresno County Office of Education to help with a media literacy module for high school students. It is crucial that young people have the skills to smartly maneuver through the complicated media environment of today.

We also are planning some major programs in the fall, including a deep look at fake news as part of a partnership with Professor Timothy Drachlis, the Roger Tatarian chair in the Media, Communications and Journalism Department at Fresno State. That program will be in February. We will follow that event with a seminar in March on science and environmental reporting, and the challenges of covering those issues present in the current political environment.

When the Institute was in the planning stage, we were not sure how it would be received. But we were thrilled to find that it had substantial support and encouragement in those early months. We appreciate all the help that we have been given, especially from the early funders. If you would like to help us financially, we’d appreciate that, too. Here’s how you can make a contribution.

Please go to this link: Click on “View all giving opportunities” in the red box and then select “Other” in the drop-down menu. Write in Institute for Media and Public Trust, and make your donation.

Thank you to everyone who helped us get launched this year. We plan big things for 2019, and we are going to need your help.