Newsroom help for the final push and beyond

Early voting began in Florida this week — the first day (Oct. 19) saw a record 350,000 people casting ballots.

Dear FPA members,

Election Day is now less than two weeks away and there’s plenty to monitor.

  • Mail-in ballots continue to come in at record numbers across the state.
  • Voters are wary about the risks of in-person voting during Covid-19.
  • Election watchers are concerned about voter intimidation and suppression.
  • Democrats and Republicans are already bracing for possible legal battles.

But First Draft is looking beyond November 3rd as well. We have a new offering aimed at helping the public sort out what they see online related to the U.S. election and other major news stories — and what to do when they encounter problematic content.

Arriving in your inbox every Friday between now and Inauguration Day (Jan. 20), subscribers will learn how to spot online rumors, why and where you might be seeing those rumors, and what to do when you encounter false information.

Click here to sign up!

Also keep in mind that it’s not too late to follow some tips and advice for your newsroom between now and Election Day.

Bookmark this First Draft landing page to prepare for the final crunch of election misinformation. Some of the info you’ll find and things you can do:

Disinformation briefings: This is the best way to receive the most urgent and emerging trends. First Draft has quick tutorials on verification and monitoring, responsible reporting tips and resources from partners like ProPublica, API and Trusting News.

Engage Florida’s students: First Draft continues to build its fall student network — an all-volunteer collaborative project that builds skills in monitoring, verifying and responsibly reporting on battleground state misinformation online. If you’re a journalism student or you have students interested and want to get involved, apply to join!

Click here for more resources and information.

All eyes on Florida

The misinformation that involves Florida and other battleground states are routinely discussed in First Draft’s Slack community, with a page dedicated just for Florida-specific topics and trends.

Join the Slack press pool for access to briefings, resources, a help desk and a direct line to First Draft’s editorial team.

Featured misinformation post

Takeaway: A public Facebook group –Venezolanos con TRUMP 2020 — is amplifying/parroting Trump-led conspiracy theories on its page. Venezuelans are heavily on the radar of Republicans and the Trump campaign as one of a group of Latinx voting blocs that could swing the election in Florida. One example of the misinformation it’s spreading, that was recently amplified by Trump, is the idea that Obama and others ordered Seal Team 6 to be killed because they didn’t actually kill Osama Bin Laden.

Other ways to stay connected
See you Thursday

Every Thursday at 5 p.m. (EST) First Draft hosts a webinar to gather input on what resources can be built and shared that would be most helpful for your election coverage.

We want to be of service to journalists and newsrooms when it comes to finding, verifying and responsibly reporting on election mis- and disinformation.

Examples of that support could be:

  • Curated CrowdTangle dashboards led by our investigative team.
  • Twitter lists of local influencers to follow.
  • Top line trends shared via an audio recording.

Sign up for the webinars here. And please fill out the media needs assessment here.

As always, let me know what questions, concerns or tips you may have. Please contact me at See you in November!


All the best,

Damon Scott

First Draft’s Florida fellow