October 27, 2022

Journalists investigating the money behind disinformation invited to apply for master class series

Investigative journalists, social media strategists, developers and others who have been fighting mis/disinformation across the Americas have a new opportunity to learn techniques and strategies from world-renowned experts – as well as to secure support for cross-border, collaborative reporting projects that probe the sources of dangerous mis/disinformation campaigns.

In partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is offering a master class series for journalists based in Latin America, the U.S. and Canada. It’s part of ICFJ’s Disarming Disinformation, a three-year global initiative that has the support of the Scripps Howard Foundation.

The master classes will take place Nov. 17 and 18 at 9:30-12:30pm EST. All classes will be available in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Apply here by Nov. 15.

Disarming Disinfo masterclasses

“The threat to democracy is a reality in most countries in the Americas, and it has been fueled by disinformation,” said Cristina Tardáguila, ICFJ senior program director leading the Disarming Disinformation program. “We want to give more journalists the tools to uncover the connections among disinformers and reveal where their funding is coming from.”

The classes will feature sessions led by renowned journalists Patricia Campos Mello from Brazil’s Folha de S. Paulo; Costa Rican journalist Giannina Segnini from Columbia University in New York City; and Craig Silverman from ProPublica in the U.S.; as well as  researcher Claire Wardle from Brown University in the U.S. They will hold 1.5 hour sessions on topics such as political and health disinformation, strategies for “following the money,” and tools to spot disinformation networks.

“We at the Knight Center are very excited to contribute to ICFJ’s ‘Disarming Disinformation’ program,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “This collaboration will allow ICFJ to reach thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean who have taken our courses and offer them this innovative training opportunity that can be extended into investigative reporting projects.”

Reporters who participate in the master class series will have the opportunity to pitch collaborative, cross-border projects designed to ferret out the shadow figures behind disinformation campaigns. Those who submit the top 15 proposals will be invited to participate in a face-to-face “investigathon” in the United States in April 2023, where they could be chosen to receive funding and additional mentorship to complete their projects.

ICFJ Knight Fellow Laura Zommer, co-founder of Factchequeado (U.S) and general director of Chequeado (Argentina), will be coordinating the events and shaping the discussions and activities.

“[The Disarming Disinformation] program is a dream come true for those of us in the fact-checking and disinformation research fields,” Zommer said. “It gives us the chance, for three years, to focus on investigating who pays for the disinformation that is profoundly affecting our society. Each activity has been designed to foster  teams of new and experienced journalists from all over the region  who, by collaborating, will expose the money behind the lies.”

One of the master class professors, journalist Giannina Segnini, director of the Master of Science Data Journalism Program at the Journalism School at Columbia University, says the program tackles urgent issues.

“A growing army of digital mercenaries undermines the pillars of democracy with lies, moving the feelings of the masses like remote-controlled puppets, at the service of the highest bidder and in the shadow of anonymity,” Segnini said. “This initiative assertively points the way for investigative journalists to discover the last and most important link: the names of those who pay for poisoning our society.”

Don’t miss this great opportunity to dive deeper into the fight against mis/disinformation. Apply for the master class series by Nov. 15!