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Ethics Symposium Speaker to Challenge Media Misinformation

Moscow, Idaho —  PolitiFact Managing Editor Katie Sanders is the keynote speaker for University of Idaho’s annual media ethics symposium at 4 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom.

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Sanders’ presentation, “Finding Truth in a Sea of Misinformation,” is free and open to the public. This will be the 11th Oppenheimer Symposium sponsored by the U of I’s School of Journalism and Mass Media. A reception before the talk is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in the Pitman Center Chiefs Lounge.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the news or lost in the political rhetoric overtaking social media feeds,” said Sanders, who oversees the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking newsroom. “The good news is there are proven strategies for finding credible information quickly — people just need to know how to look for it.”

PolitiFact, based at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, specializes in holding politicians accountable for their statements and debunking false information on social media. Before becoming managing editor in 2018, Sanders was a deputy editor and reporter for affiliated websites PunditFact and PolitiFact Florida. She regularly teaches fact-checking techniques to journalists, social media influencers and students.

This year’s symposium comes as voters, news outlets and officials prepare for the 2024 presidential election.

“This is an ideal time to examine reporting about candidates and elected officials, while identifying ways to improve coverage in the next election cycle,” said Kenton Bird, professor in the U of I School of Journalism and Mass Media and symposium coordinator.

Sanders plans to present tactics used in PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter, a graphic depiction of the accuracy of information, to help audience members become more informed voters and consumers of political news. She will also discuss why it is important for news organizations to point out when candidates and campaigns exaggerate, distort facts and obfuscate truth.

Melissa Davlin, host and producer of “Idaho Reports” on Idaho Public Television, will introduce Sanders and moderate a question-and-answer session following the keynote talk. Davlin, a U of I graduate, joined Idaho Public Television in 2013 after six years serving as a reporter for the Times-News of Twin Falls.

Sanders serves on the boards of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and the Florida-based First Amendment Foundation. A graduate of the University of Florida in journalism and English, she covered politics and state government for the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald.

The Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium, founded in 2011, is sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Media. Its goal is to promote professional responsibility and ethical behavior by journalists and other media professionals, as well as to expose U of I students to nationally known journalists and media critics. The symposium is supported by U of I graduates Doug and Arthur “Skip” Oppenheimer of Boise.

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