(Register Today) Free Poynter Webinar: Covering Political Extremism in the Public Square
September 16, 2022
Poynter and PolitiFact are hosting a daylong, free online seminar called "Covering Political Extremism in the Public Square." The training is from 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, September 20. Registration is open through September 16. Register here.
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 and beyond.
With guidance from 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. Finally, 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.
Participants in this one-day online workshop 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