The Poynter Institute and its Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership are pleased to present a workshop aimed at elevating the journalism around election results and voter turnout in the 2020 elections. Misunderstanding, misreporting and even mischief after the polls close this November pose a real risk for the proper functioning of the democratic transfer of power.
There’s a good chance that the American public won’t have a quickly announced winner, due to delays from mail-in balloting driven by the coronavirus pandemic. If the race is close, it may take a week to declare who won in races across the country. During that wait, partisans might try to shape the social media narrative through misleading readings of voting returns.
We are inviting reporters, editors, academics, public officials, civic groups and election-watchers to apply to participate in a short series of topic-based panels on the 2020 elections. Journalists have a special obligation to report precisely, ethically, and authoritatively, rather than being swept up in rumors. Civic groups and elected officials, too, need to be conscientious in gathering verified, authoritative information to share with colleagues, the press and the public.
The discussions will help produce a report for wider dissemination to media practitioners and consumers. The conversation will expand beyond national races to touch on local newsrooms covering races pertinent to their communities as well.
As the 2020 national and local campaigns gain traction, it is time to challenge the industry to succeed in the highest standards of journalistic and storytelling excellence.