ICFJ Announces Opportunity for Journalists to Investigate Election Disinformation

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Sharon Moshavi
International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit organization based in Washington DC in the United States, is offering journalists worldwide a chance to obtain funding, mentorship, and training through the Disarming Disinformation programme, which aims to expose the money behind misinformation and disinformation that targets voters globally.

As political campaigns kick off in dozens of countries across the world, billions of people are slated to take to the polls in 2024 for landmark elections, including those in the US, India, and Mexico.

Individuals such as reporters, social media strategists, and developers can apply for grant funding to support collaborative projects focusing on investigating electoral disinformation. To qualify, applicants need to participate in master classes led by leading experts in November. These online courses aim to enhance skills and knowledge on tracking electoral disinformation and the impact of artificial intelligence in its propagation.

The Disarming Disinformation programme is run by ICFJ, with lead support from the Scripps Howard Fund. This is the second year the programme has supported investigations into disinformation.

Laura Zommer, co-founder of Factchequeado and an ICFJ Knight Fellow, explained that the focus is on identifying those who fund electoral disinformation. This is because such efforts pose a significant threat to public trust in democratic institutions. Zommer cited evidence of similar narratives and tactics being replicated across continents, which highlights the need for transnational investigations and analysis.

After attending the master classes, a total of 15 projects will be chosen to receive additional support. The team leads of these projects will then gather in person for a three-day “investigathon” where they will collaborate with one another. Those who attend the investigathon will have the opportunity to receive individual grants and further mentorship to aid them in their investigative efforts to expose disinformation campaigns surrounding elections.

This year, the focus will be on the increasing role of artificial intelligence in the spread of disinformation, and measures to counteract it.

To attend the master classes, applicants should apply by October 22, 2023. The classes will take place from 10 am – 1 pm EST on Nov. 7, 8, and 9 and will be conducted online as three-hour webinars. The classes will be led by six mentors, namely Patricia Campos Mello from Folha de S. Paulo in Brazil, Giannina Segnini from Columbia University, Craig Silverman from ProPublica, Aimee Rinehart from the Associated Press, and researcher Claire Wardle from Brown University.

Interested applicants should apply by visiting https://icfj.submittable.com/submit/d75a2983-92f9-4699-9d6b-eaa77e2df431/disarming-disinformation-2023-master-class.