#TrustedJournalism campaign to help slow spread of election disinformation

October 21, 2020 01:30

The Trusted Journalism Partnership, a coalition of nonpartisan academic and media organizations of which RTDNA is a founding member, has launched a #TrustedJournalism public information campaign. The campaign focuses on people aged 65 and over, encouraging them to take a reflective pause and consider whether a news story is true or not before sharing it on social media.

“We want to help people sort fact from fiction at a time when they are bombarded with disinformation,” said Dan Shelley, executive director and COO at the Radio Television Digital News Association, one of the participating organizations. “Our campaign is a critical reminder that fact-based journalism is different from other types of media. Legitimate news organizations hold themselves to high standards of transparency and accuracy.”

The campaign is based on research at Princeton and New York universities analyzing people’s online behaviors in the final weeks of the 2016 elections:
  • One quarter of all Americans visited a website masquerading as a legitimate news organization, but in fact peddling false claims.
  • The largest source of this internet traffic came from Facebook.
  • While most people did not share the misleading information, Facebook users 65 and over posted seven times as many articles from such websites, compared with adults under 29.
The PSA campaign, which provides 15-, 30- and 90-second videos, highlights the Trust Project’s 8 Trust IndicatorsTM to help people evaluate the source of a news story and determine its validity.

“Our 8 Trust Indicators provide an easy checklist for making decisions about what news comes from reputable news organizations and what might be intentionally misleading or just plain wrong,” said Sally Lehrman, Trust Project founder and CEO, and a member of the Trusted Journalism Partnership.

The campaign invites people to take three simple steps to support a healthy democracy:
1. Share the campaign
2. Learn the Trust Indicators
3. Sign a pledge to share only trusted journalism and curtail the spread of disinformation.

Journalists and newsrooms can access a social media toolkit and a collection of resources to help spread the word about misinformation and the critical need for sharing trusted journalism at TheTrustProject.org.
The Trusted Journalism Partnership resources can also be found on Facebook, the most popular social media platform among seniors.

“Technology has dramatically altered the way we consume information. But one thing has not changed: the difference between the truth and a lie,” said Akhtar Badshah, distinguished practitioner, University of Washington Evans School and founder of Accelerating Social Transformation. “We are giving people the tools to help them discern the difference.”

About the Trusted Journalism Partnership: The nonpartisan partnership includes Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), The Trust Project, the Center for an Informed Public (CIP) at the University of Washington (UW) and UW’s Accelerating Social Transformation Program (AST). This project was incubated within Cascade Public Media's Hive Media Lab, in collaboration with campaign director Pamela Kilborn-Miller, Akhtar Badshah of UW Accelerating Social Transformation program, Jevin West of the CIP and the UW DataLab, and the Global Leadership Forum in Seattle. Funders include Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program, The Trust Project, Facebook and the Peg and Rick Young Foundation. 4Site Interactive Studios in Washington, D.C. is providing creative services for the campaign.


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