Defending Democracy: Event to discuss new Pennsylvania News Trust report

A report on disinformation and misinformation in Pennsylvania commissioned by The Lenfest Institute will be released on Tuesday March 16 in the second session of a statewide journalism summit.

The summit begins at noon EDT. Registration to the summit is available here.

The Pennsylvania News Trust report was compiled by NewsGuard, a firm led by former Wall Street Journal Publisher Gordon Crovitz and Court TV Founder Steve Brill, reviewed coverage by 160 local news sites based in Pennsylvania. The sources analyzed included local newspapers, local TV news outlets, local radio stations and digital-only sources based in the commonwealth.

The report identified political sites masquerading as news entities operating from and covering Pennsylvania It also identifies a high level of consumption of misinformation from sites covering Pennsylvania.

The report will also serve as a how-to document on how legitimate news organizations can build and enhance trust, draw clear lines between news and opinion, make ownership and corrections policies crystal clear, among other measures.”

The journalism summit’s objective is to explore what the media can do to help the public spot disinformation and understand journalistic practices. Six Pennsylvania journalism-based organizations organized the summit:  The Lenfest Institute, the Press Club of Western PennsylvaniaCenter for Media Innovation at Point Park University, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and its foundation, and Thomas Jefferson University’s Communication Program.   

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, led the first session on March 9. She explained the many forms of disinformation, and how false news and conspiracy theories spreads on social media and influence campaigns. You can watch a recording of the session here.

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