API summit: Truth-telling in the modern age

The American Press Institute will hold an invitation-only Thought Leader Summit on reporting decisions for our digital, polarized age on June 6-7, 2019 in Arlington, Va.

Truth-Telling in the Modern Age: Strategies to Confront Polarization and Misinformation” will gather editors, journalists and experts outside of newsrooms to explore how people interpret information online and when polarized, and what this means for journalists going forward. The event will bring together people with a range of titles, all of whom have hands-on experience or big ideas on how to present reporting to polarized audiences, how to address misinformation among those audiences, and how to think about knowledge-sharing in our fractured, information-saturated environment.

This summit builds on API efforts to help journalists monitor the veracity of politician’s claims in the public sphere. In today’s environment, fact-checking is one of many ways to help audiences get to truth about their communities and country. But given the nature of information online — complete with manipulators and affected by people’s inner perceptions of information through emotion and group identity — journalists of all stripes must think critically about the way they present their reporting and how it will be interpreted.

Can journalists learn from fields like social psychology, neuroscience and conflict resolution, to better present their reporting to polarized audiences? Can they anticipate how people will seek to use similar insights to manipulate those audiences with misinformation and other nefarious views? Should journalists more broadly adopt new practices, in light of these challenges?

At our summit, we plan to hold in-depth discussions on these topics, with support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. This summit will kick off a body of work from API on journalism ethics in our digital, polarized age, with additional research and practical resources for newsrooms.

Unlike a typical conference, the intimate, interactive summit allows each attendee to be an active participant, sharing their expertise and experiences while gaining actionable insights from others. Discussion topics will be surfaced in advance by invitees before arrival in Arlington, just outside the nation’s capital.

Following the event, API will publish a resource outlining key ideas in truth-telling today, and inspiration for how journalists can confront polarization and misinformation. Susan Benkelman, API’s director of accountability journalism and a longtime reporter, will author the report.

Participating organizations include, among others:

100 Days in Appalachia

The Atlantic

American University


Bangor Daily News

Boston Globe

Buffalo News

BuzzFeed News

Catholic News Agency

Christian Science Monitor

CNN Digital

Denver Post

Data & Society

Deseret News


Duke Reporters’ Lab

El Nuevo Herald

First Draft

The Fulcrum

Harvard Shorenstein Center

International Center for Journalists

Jefferson University

Knoxville News Sentinel

Los Angeles Times

Louisiana State University

Mississippi Today


New York Times

New York University

NORC at the University of Chicago



Poynter Institute

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Raleigh News & Observer


Religion News Service

Resetting the Table

Society of Professional Journalists

Solutions Journalism Network

Southern California Public Radio


Temple University

Texas Tribune

Toronto Star

Trusting News

University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post


WRLN, South Florida Public Media

Space is limited at API Thought Leader Summits and participation is by invitation only; however, people interested in participating may apply for consideration. We look for individuals and organizations advancing the summit’s topic area, with efforts to show. We believe a diversity of lived experiences, skill sets and backgrounds makes these events successful.

For more information, contact Kevin Loker, API’s director of program operations and partnerships, at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.