Covering Political Extremism in the Public Square

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Covering Political Extremism in the Public Square

Increased intimidation, threats and violence surround democratic process and participation in the United States. This free online group seminar will help journalists stay safe and produce ethical, excellent stories for voters leading up to the 2022 midterms.

April 4, 2022– April 13, 2022

Overview

  • Tune in April 4, 6, 11 and 13, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, to better prepare for the 2022 midterms
  • Join PolitiFact editors and fact-checkers — plus special guests — to discuss best practices during heightened situations
  • Make lasting connections with other local journalists who can help you navigate these stories in the future

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Learning Outcomes

Participants in this online group seminar will:

  • Understand the laws that govern election security, firearms possession at polling places, election intimidation and threats of violence
  • Explain how and where gun rights run up against the law in polling places and other sensitive places like state capitols
  • Recognize the cultural phenomenon of threats, violence and armed intimidation in the public sphere
  • Identify attempts by extremists to normalize this behavior, including downplay and denial
  • Grapple with the ethics issues of how journalists cover violence or threats of violence at public institutions
  • Learn best practices for dealing with online harassment and threats
  • Develop new story ideas and reporting strategies for reporting on tense situations where violence is possible
  • Apply lessons to other areas of coverage, including statehouse, school boards and public health agencies

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Out of stock

Overview

  • Tune in April 4, 6, 11 and 13, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, to better prepare for the 2022 midterms
  • Join PolitiFact editors and fact-checkers — plus special guests — to discuss best practices during heightened situations
  • Make lasting connections with other local journalists who can help you navigate these stories in the future

Training five or more people?
Check out our custom training.

Though it received the most global attention, the insurrection at the U.S. capitol is just one example of a disinformation-fueled attack on the American democratic process. And it didn’t end the trend toward mainstream extremism. 

How do you cover elections for a public that is extremely fractured? This free online group seminar will help local journalists stay safe and produce ethical, excellent stories about voting, security and local issues leading up to the 2022 midterms. 

With guidance from PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact executive director Aaron Sharockman and PolitiFact staff writer Amy Sherman, participants will learn how to track and debunk election-related disinformation that could fuel violence on the local level. Participants will also gain an understanding of First and Second Amendment protections to strengthen their reporting about activities that are prohibited by law. With guest speakers, participants will also review best practices for reporting on these issues without legitimizing them or having a chilling effect on democratic participation.

Informing the electorate and holding powerful people accountable are journalists’ great responsibility. This training program will help journalists do so responsibly.  

Questions?

If you need assistance, email us at info@poynter.org.

This online group seminar will take place each Monday and Wednesday afternoon between April 4 and April 13, 2022. Each session will be 90 minutes long and include training and discussion. Though all the sessions will be recorded and available for replay within the course, we hope most participants can attend live to get their questions answered and contribute to a robust conversation. Please block off these dates and times:

  • Monday, April 4, 2022, 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern time
  • Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern time
  • Monday, April 11, 2022, 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern time
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern time

Who should enroll

Journalists who cover government, elections, education or who think they may be in potentially dangerous or threatening situations covering public institutions or events. Those who work in or report on battleground states in the 2022 midterms will especially benefit. 

Cost

This online group seminar is free, thanks to support from the Joyce Foundation. 

Instructors

Lead Faculty

  • Angie Drobnic Holan
    Editor-in-Chief, PolitiFact
    Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact. She previously was an editor, deputy editor and reporter for PolitiFact, helping launch the site in 2007....
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  • Aaron Sharockman
    Vice President for Sales & Strategic Partnerships
    Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking organization in the United States. Aaron leads the growth and development of PolitiFact, manages...
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  • Amy Sherman
    Fact-Checker, PolitiFact
    Amy Sherman is a staff writer with PolitiFact and based in South Florida. She was part of the team that launched PolitiFact Florida in 2010...
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Guest Faculty

  • April Glaser
    Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow
    April Glaser is an investigative journalist at NBC News, covering the technology industry and labor and workplace culture in Silicon Valley. Previously, she worked at...
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  • Todd Helmus
    Senior Behavioral Scientist, Rand
    Todd C. Helmus is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He specializes in...
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  • Jessica Huseman
    Editorial Director, Votebeat
    Jessica Huseman is the editorial director of Votebeat, and a regular contributor to CNN and the Daily Beast on voting and elections issues. She was...
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  • Joanna Lydgate
    Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the States United Democracy Center
    Joanna Lydgate is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the States United Democracy Center. Prior to launching States United, she served as the Chief...
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  • Mary McCord
    Executive Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection
    Mary McCord is Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center....
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  • Norm Ornstein
    Emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
    Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and policy. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call and is an election analyst for CBS...
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  • Rajeev Ramchand
    Co-Director & Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute and RAND Corporation
    Rajeev Ramchand (he/him) is codirector of the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute and a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. He studies...
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  • Odette Yousef
    NPR Domestic Extremism Correspondent
    Odette Yousef is a National Security correspondent focusing on extremism. In her reporting, Yousef aims to explore how extremist ideas break into the mainstream, how...
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