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Regional Journalists and Students Armor Up to Fight Mis/Disinformation


Contact: Dr. Michelle Ferrier

First Draft Mis/Disinformation & Election 2020

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida will once again be a battleground state in the 2020 Presidential Election and area journalists are developing strategies to cover candidates and the important issues for the state’s residents. FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication and First Draft Training have teamed up to offer social media monitoring and digital forensics tools to prepare area journalists, students, educators and others.

Journalists from the Miami Herald, Telemundo and broadcast and print media outlets as well as educators and students from Florida International University, Tuskegee University, Florida State and other higher education institutions will be converging in Tallahassee on Friday, March 6, for a full day of hands-on workshops on known tactics for targeting the census and Election 2020, techniques for slowing down the spread of misinformation, and finding and verifying content circulating on the social web.

SJGC Dean Michelle Ferrier worked with the First Draft team around the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States to train her students in digital forensics tools. The 2016 collaborative effort, called ElectionLand, was the largest-ever journalistic collaboration of news organizations and higher education institutions around a single event in an effort to cover voting rights, election administration and examine claims of voter disenfranchisement and fraud. The project team, led by First Draft and ProPublica won the Online News Association’s top award in 2017 for planned news events.

“Fake websites, online attacks, misinformation and discrediting campaigns have eroded the trust in news sources and disenfranchised voters,” Ferrier said. “We are protecting our democracy and the election process by providing students and journalists with new digital competencies around sourcing, verifying and reporting using social media tools to provide real-time vigilance around voting and voting rights.”

“Our goal is to ensure journalists are prepared for the myriad tactics and ways bad actors create and disseminate misinformation that hinder reporting and the public’s perceptions of news coverage,” Ferrier said.

EVENT: First Draft Mis/Disinformation & Election 2020
DATE: Friday, March 6
TIME: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
PLACE: FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication,
510 Orr Drive, Tallahassee.
RSVP: Participation is limited to 50 participants. While attendance is free, please RSVP at