The Weirdest Election “Night” Ever: What the public needs to know about the media, the 2020 elections and a working democracy

EVENT DATE: Oct. 19, 2020

LOCATION: Online Event

TIME: 7- 9 p.m. Eastern

TICKETS: Tuition-free, thanks to support from Facebook. Donations encouraged!

Join this online public forum for leading journalists and the citizens they serve to demystify the elections process and combat misinformation.

Misunderstanding, misreporting and even mischief after the polls close this November pose a real risk for the proper functioning of a democracy. As part of its continuing work to strengthen journalism, the nonprofit Poynter Institute is hosting a public forum on Monday, Oct. 19 to explore issues around the 2020 election so that citizens and journalists can understand each others’ roles in the voting process.

This nonpartisan conversation between journalists and the public is a continuation of workshops Poynter hosted with 17 leading journalists to discuss best practices and solutions for coverage challenges around the 2020 election.

How to watch

This two-hour forum will consist of two lively panels with breaks for video explainers. As a registered attendee, you will be provided with a link to the livestream.

Learning outcomes

-Feel prepared to follow an election unlike any other

-Spot election misinformation on your own newsfeed

– Sharpen your critical thinking about politicians’ claims


Neil Head Shot

Neil Brown
The Poynter Institute


Join us live on Monday, Oct. 19 from 7-9 p.m. As a registered attendee, you will be provided with a link to the livestream.

Panel 1: Demystifying the elections process

Leading journalists will discuss how votes are counted, how journalists project winners, how coverage priorities are balanced and how to meet expectations of voters.



Eric Deggans, is NPR’s TV Critic and a media analyst/contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. Deggans came to NPR in 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times, where he served as TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years.


Sally Buzbee, senior vice president and executive editor of The Associated Press, in New York, Dec. 13. 2018. (AP Corporate Communications)

Sally Buzbee is the Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of The Associated Press. She oversees global news operations and news content in text, photos and video from journalists based in 250 locations worldwide.

CaitlinConant_CBS News

Caitlin Conant is political director of CBS News where she helps guide the network’s political and campaign coverage.


Joe Lenski is co-founder and Executive Vice President of Edison Research. Under his supervision, Edison Research currently conducts all exit polls for the major news organizations comprising the National Election Pool (NEP) – ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC.


Geoffrey Skelley is an elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight, a leading data journalism news outlet that is part of ABC News. He examines polling and election data for presidential, congressional and gubernatorial contests.


Amna Nawaz, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent and MediaWise Ambassador, on fact-checking claims before sharing them online.

Panel 2: Combating misinformation and false claims

Fact-checkers and media literacy advocates will assess the information landscape and make recommendations to the public about how they can be well-informed and spot misinformation for themselves.


Angie Holan

Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact and helped launch the site in 2007. She was a member of the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election.



Daniel Funke is a staff writer covering online misinformation for PolitiFact. He previously reported for Poynter as a fact-checking reporter and a Google News Lab Fellow, and has worked for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

PA photo

Paul Anderson is a former journalist who covered government and politics in Florida and Washington, D.C. In the second half of his career, he has done communications for a member of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Government Accountability Office and now for AARP. He helped create the AARP Fact Tracker.

kate starbird

Kate Starbird is an associate professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. Her research examines how people use social media to seek, share, and make sense of information, especially after high-impact news events. She also studies how online social platforms empower people to work together to solve problems, as well as concerns related to abuse and manipulation on the platforms and the erosion of trust in information.

Heaven Taylor-Wynn

Heaven Taylor-Wynn is a Multimedia Reporter for Poynter’s MediaWise Project. Heaven joined MediaWise in 2019 shortly after graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. The MediaWise project teaches teenagers media literacy skills that help them tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information on social media and throughout the internet.


This event will be livestreamed and only accessible online. This is a free event, thanks to the generous support of Facebook. Please consider supporting the Poynter Institute by making a donation during the registration process.

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