Elections

The American Press Institute helps news organizations transform for an audience-centric future, and election coverage plays an important role in this shift. We organize and support many initiatives working toward this goal:

  • Trusted Elections Network: API is coordinating a real-time network that connects newsroom leaders to each other and to experts to address misinformation and other threats to secure, trusted elections.
  • Trusting News: A joint project of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and API, Trusting News works to help newsrooms demonstrate credibility and earn trust through research and training. Trusting News is a partner in the Trusted Elections Network and ElectionSOS programs.
  • ElectionSOS: API is the fiscal sponsor of Hearken’s election training and cohort program to help newsrooms learn and implement strategies to design election coverage built on engagement, trust-building and reporting on election integrity in a time of uncertainty.
  • Factually: Building on our history in fact-checking innovation and accountability journalism, API co-produces Factually, a weekly email newsletter and resource for fact-checkers and journalists combating misinformation.
  • Metrics for News: API’s analytics dashboards and consulting program helps newsrooms make data-informed decisions about coverage by showing them  who their journalism is reaching and why. This includes election coverage.

Building election coverage with audiences

No work of journalism should be focused more on what matters to the public than election coverage. Voters, after all, are the decision makers. But journalists don’t always make the right assumptions about what’s of interest to the voting public. One of the main concerns about political journalism is that it reflects the interests of […]

Addressing false information during the 2020 election and lessons for the future

The 2020 election may be remembered best for misinformation. Led by the defeated president himself, partisans — including elected officials — and others seeking to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election spread false claims about voting and election results, undermining confidence in the foundations of our shared democracy. After the 2016 election, in […]

Amid uncertainty, back-to-basics reporting became essential in 2020 election coverage

The pandemic made nearly every facet of life more complicated. That, in turn, altered what kind of news people needed.  In response, many journalists offered a “back to basics” journalism, distilling key issues to help make them easy to understand and act upon.  Greater complexity was particularly true of voting in 2020, where many states […]

Lessons from 2020: How local newsrooms responded to unprecedented challenges

The pandemic created new challenges for journalists trying to help audiences make sense of a contentious election, one already complicated by abrupt shifts in voting processes and widespread misinformation spread online and by public officials. Just knowing how to vote safely was a major concern. In response, election reporting had to be rethought – in […]

13 tips for covering likely election scenarios

American elections are highly decentralized, with local and state laws and processes governing election administration in more than 10,000 jurisdictions across the country. As in elections past, issues will pop up in some jurisdictions and not in others. It’s critical for journalists to understand what those issues might be, how the misinformation ecosystem will accelerate […]

5 guideposts for thoughtfully covering the voting

This year’s election will have problems, and journalists need to handle them with care. Here are five guideposts for doing so. Elections are the highest of journalism’s high-wire acts. Everyone’s paying attention, and mistakes can be devastating. This year, that pressure is intensified. Election administrators are under stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing laws […]

Announcing the third round of grantees for the Trusted Elections Network Fund

The American Press Institute today announced additional recipients of its Trusted Elections Network Fund micro-grants.  New funding to expand this initiative to improve audience-centered elections coverage comes from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. We are grateful for the additional support, allowing us to fund an additional 5 newsrooms, and bringing the total number of funded […]

Announcing the second round of grantees for the Trusted Elections Network Fund

The American Press Institute today announced additional recipients of its Trusted Elections Network Fund micro-grants.  New funding to expand this initiative to improve audience-centered elections coverage comes from Craig Newmark Philanthropies and ElectionSOS, an initiative of Hearken and Trusting News. We are grateful for the additional support, allowing us to fund an additional 11 newsrooms, […]

Trusted Elections Network Round-Up, 10/13/20

API’s Trusted Elections Network connects journalists with experts in elections and misinformation to help audiences participate knowingly and meaningfully in elections this year. As part of that effort, we’ll publish occasional roundups of elections- and misinformation-related news we’re tracking, especially from participants in the network. If you’d like to learn more about the Trusted Elections […]

Covering the gears of democracy: How three election reporters are connecting readers to politics by explaining the right to vote

They’re not conventional political journalists, but they might have the most important beat of 2020. This election year was going to be different even before the pandemic. Legislatures in several states had changed election laws in 2018 and 2019 in ways that made voting for many people more complicated. But those passed under the radar […]