January 30, 2020 – The American Press Institute today announced a grant of $388,000 from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to build a real-time network of newsroom leaders, civic and academic institutions, and outside experts who will communicate throughout the 2020 election to combat disinformation and other threats to honest reporting, election integrity and voter suppression.
With the funds, API will organize and support a network of local news decision-makers around the country, particularly in "swing states" and districts where there are highly contested elections. The network will help those newsroom leaders share lessons and strategies with each other and support their efforts to respond in real time to false information and other election challenges.
The network will also connect these newsroom leaders to other organizations and experts, many of them also supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, who have built tools and expertise in misinformation, election integrity and attacks on press credibility. API will support that network, document and share lessons, and facilitate connections between leaders and experts.
"No election in our history will be as challenging for journalists or important as 2020," said Tom Rosenstiel, API's executive director. "To serve the public well, they must cover the legitimate campaigns involving what candidates say as well as the illegitimate ones filled with divisive planted rumors, fake videos and disinformation. There are a growing number of tools, insights and experts out there. Our job is to build a bridge between them, a network so the good guys can move more quickly against the purveyors of lies and thereby help protect our elections."
The network is designed to expand the reach and deepen the impact of experts in the field by making their tools and expertise even more readily available to local newsrooms in key states on an ongoing basis.
At the same time the project responds to calls we heard from local editors and reporters who want to connect with each other as well as with experts. These journalists want to share best practices on a range of challenges, including spotting false information and communicating to the public how to identify it themselves.
"We've heard from newsroom leaders that no issue worries them more than contending with false information this campaign year," Rosenstiel said. "At the same time, they have fewer resources to take on a job they already know will be harder in 2020 than it was in 2016."
All journalists and others interested in lessons from the election collaborative are encouraged to sign up for Need to Know, API's morning newsletter with curated links on fresh, useful ideas to improve and sustain journalism.
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About the American Press Institute
The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. It is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. Its funding comes from several sources, including other philanthropic organizations.
About Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.