Save the Dates for 'Defending Democracy: What the Media Can Do to Protect the Truth and Defeat Discrimination'

What can media professionals do to help the public better spot disinformation and understand our role?

The 2020 presidential election and its aftermath has prompted a statewide virtual journalism summit led by The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and its foundation, and Thomas Jefferson University's Communications Program.

U.S. democracy is in great peril if we operate with alternative sets of facts, something that culminated with the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

How can we explain our role in a way that helps the public better evaluate the information they read and see? What are media across the state doing already? What responsibility should the owners of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have?

We will explore these questions over two sessions. A major component: The NewsGuard Pennsylvania Media Trust Project commissioned by the Lenfest Institute. It will examine the issue of trust and integrity for media coverage in and about Pennsylvania. The project will utilize trust ratings, new research and reporting from NewsGuard, data about social media engagement from NewsWhip, and resources collated from NewsGuard. The research will identify sources of misinformation and disinformation operating from Pennsylvania or being consumed by state residents and recommend best practices for PA news organizations.

First session, March 9:
Led by Kathleen Carley, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research and director of the Center for Informed Democracy and Social Cybersecurity, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The Center is a Knight-funded initiative launched in 2019 to study disinformation, hate speech and extremism online, how to detect them, how they spread and how to counter their impact.

Second session, March 16:
NewsGuard’s CEO Gordon Crovitz (former publisher of The Wall Street Journal) will release and report on the findings of NewsGuard Pennsylvania Media Trust Report and then lead a Q&A on remedies and best practices in addressing misinformation and distrust in media.

Both sessions will begin at noon and will include breakout sessions to react to the information provided, share projects and start a discussion on next steps. Sessions will last 90 minutes.

Watch for an invitation and link to the first session soon. Please share this information with media outlets and journalists in your region.

Questions and more information: