On Democracy Day, preparing for difficult conversations that build trust


The spread of misinformation, an erosion of trust in standards-based news organizations and deepening political polarization continue to pose major threats to American democracy. In an effort to confront these threats, journalists around the country on Sept. 15 are observing Democracy Day, publishing stories that explain how democracy works and encouraging greater civic participation among readers, viewers and listeners.

The Center for Cooperative Media launched the effort last year to coincide with the International Day of Democracy, which is designated by the United Nations as an annual event to review the state of democracy in the world.

Participating news outlets are publishing stories and op-eds today that cover election processes, voting rights, civic engagement and explanatory reporting on how newsrooms are covering elections and public policy issues.

This Democracy Day, the News Literacy Project also is joining the effort, announcing two events intended to help everyone build understanding and trust in our democracy within their own networks of influence.

We’re teaming up with the National Institute for Civil Discourse and the League of Women Voters to host two free public webinars about how to talk to loved ones who share misinformation.

It can be difficult to know how to respond when a friend or family member shares a viral hoax, fabricated photo or conspiracy theory. As we prepare for the holiday season and a presidential election in 2024, we can expect to encounter rumors and falsehoods, as well as heated debate.

Our webinar, Productive conversations without confrontation, will offer strategies for productive, civil conversations – especially when discussing misinformation.

Register now

We’re hosting two different sessions of the same webinar – pick the date and time that works best for you.

Session 1 is at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT Tuesday, Oct. 24. Session 2 is set for 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Thursday, Nov. 16 – one week before Thanksgiving.

Register for the October session here. Register for the November session here.

DeMario Phipps-Smith, senior manager of community learning at NLP, will be joined by Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, director emeritus of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and Chelsey Cartwright, program director for the League of Women Voters Democracy Truth Project.

They will discuss tools for debunking misinformation, setting the table for productive conversations, the basics for talking about falsehoods, how to build coalitions and communities that value credible information and why it’s important to have these difficult conversations.

We hope you’ll join us this fall.

In the meantime, read Democracy Day reporting from around the country here.

This article is part of U.S. Democracy Day, a nationwide collaborative on Sept. 15, the International Day of Democracy, in which news organizations cover how democracy works and the threats it faces. To learn more, visit usdemocracyday.org.

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