Misinfo Meetup #6: "Issues in Reporting on Misinformation"
1 February 2022
In this Misinfo Meetup, we discuss "Issues in Reporting On Misinformation" with VICE News reporter David Gilbert, author Mike Rothschild, and journalists Steven Monacelli and Eric Levai.
Misinformation is a newer kind of “beat” for news organizations to devote coverage to. A lot has sprung up in this area the past five-ish years, from books published to freelancers, dedicated reporters, and whole teams at major outlets. It’s great, really. So we wanted to talk about issues in this reporting. More news orgs are assigning misinformation stories because it’s a problem that has grown to the point that ignoring it carries large risks. And to understand a lot of what happens these days, the misinformation lens is clutch.
We talked with our professional reporter/author guests about why news orgs choose to put resources toward misinformation coverage, how stories are framed, and what it’s like to produce them. Touched on the potential for bad actor blowback when reporters do this kind of work. In the Q&A, we got into principles of science communications and the challenges of writing headlines. Accessibility as an essential aspect of misinformation journalism. What we can learn from episodes like the Japanese ivermectin/omicron study. And more.
Unfortunately we’re all at a bit of a loss re: solutions beyond documenting the misinformation issue in professional reporting. There are no easy answers. As always, Prism came down on the side of rallying society around anti-misinformation “infrastructure,” by which we mean primarily building tools and collaborating more and raising and deploying war chests to counter those of the bad actors. All agreed we could do a lot better than we have with the support of just one wealthy benefactor. Until then, we just scraping by!
In the end, the meetup was the friends we met along the way. tfw you share in the yarn-boarder-i-ness that we yarn-board watchers have in common. Went away feeling grateful for the anti-misinformation community and hopeful that we can figure this all out soon. Many thanks to our guests.