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WITF Virtual Town Hall on Credibility and Trustworthiness in Journalism

Oct 12, 2020

Expert Journalists Define Disinformation and Share Practical Everyday Tips to Help You Think Critically

[HARRISBURG, PA]- WITF, in partnership with York County Libraries, presents “Trusting News: Defining Credibility and Trustworthiness in Journalism,” a panel discussion and audience Q&A virtual event. With information and misinformation overwhelming social media users, media organizations need to ensure their listeners, viewers and readers can trust their reporting. During a global pandemic, civil unrest and an upcoming election, trustworthy news has become increasingly important.  A panel of journalism experts from five different news organizations will strive to answer questions like “How do people decide what news is trustworthy?” and “How can journalists influence what users consume and share?”

“As librarians, connecting our members with reliable information is a core part of our profession and library’s mission,” said Robert F. Lambert, president of York County Libraries. “We partnered with WITF for this event, because it is critical that community members know how to decipher the information they are consuming.”

Journalism experts from four regional news outlets and a national news project comprise the panel. Tim Lambert, news director at WITF, will moderate the discussion with Brad Bumsted, bureau chief of The Caucus, an investigative team and part of LNP Media Group in Lancaster; Randy Parker, Central Pennsylvania executive editor of the USA Today Network; Russ Walker, watchdog editor at LNP and LancasterOnline; and Lynn Walsh, assistant director of Trusting News.

“Many bloggers write their piece and hit send,” said Bumsted. “In the rush to be first, some newspapers have allowed reporters to post stories without being edited.” He stressed the importance that news stories have multiple edits; not just for spelling and grammar, but to fact check, re-write for clarity, to challenge basic assumptions and look for unintended meaning.

“With less than four weeks to go until the November election, the amount of misinformation and disinformation being spread on your social media platforms is growing,” said WITF’s Lambert. “But, do you even realize a story you are reading or sharing may be false?  What we are hoping to accomplish throughout the discussion is to help you hone your skills in spotting bad faith actors who are trying to trick and mislead you.”

WITF welcomes the community to “Trusting News: Defining Credibility and Trustworthiness in Journalism” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14 LIVE on WITF’s YouTube Channel. Community members can submit questions to the panel before the event at [email protected]. To register for the event, visit witf.org/events.

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