Take a Deep Dive into Politics


New Jersey will be electing one U.S. senator, 12 U.S. representatives, and 45 school board members this November. It’s our job, as reporters, to go beyond the rhetoric and the slick campaign ads and let the voters know what’s really on the table.

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Join the Center for Cooperative Media on Wed. Oct. 8 from 9:30 to 3:30 as we take a deep dive into political reporting and give you and your newsroom colleagues the tools to keep the politicians honest.

In the morning, the American Press Institute’s Fact-Checking Project will teach how to check the claims and rhetoric coming from political advertisements, stump speeches and debates.

Six experienced scholars representing universities from Wyoming to the U.K. are working with the American Press Institute to study fact-checking and how to improve it. The group joined API’s fact-checking project, announced in February, with plenty of experience in the study of information, misinformation and how facts are processed.

API’s training will teach you the best practices based on their research.

In the afternoon, the Sunlight Foundation will help you follow the “dark money” behind shady political ads. From Sunlight:

Just who is behind those “mystery meat” groups with names like “Jerseyans for a Better Jersey” or (this is a real one) “Save Our Future Now” dumping zillions of last-minute political ads into the campaign you’re covering? The proliferation of political groups thinly disguised as nonprofits makes following the money in politics harder than ever — but there is one place this dark money organizations do leave a paper trail: at the TV stations where they buy their ads. Join the Sunlight Foundation, the Internet Archive and Philadelphia’s Committee of Seventy in an ambitious project to track the air wars and the money behind them. We’ll show you how to use — and improve — the data tools we built and talk about how they can be deployed to illuminate the dark corners of politics at federal, state and local levels.

BONUS: Angie McGuire of the New Jersey Legislative District Databook will present the new online version of the book to reporters for the first time.

The full day of training, from 9:30 to 3:30, is free. Just sign up on Eventbrite. The workshop, which includes lunch, will take place in 311 Schmitt Hall at Montclair State University. Here’s how to find us.

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