Democratic Reporting in Times of Elections


Join top journalists and media experts in a crucial discussion on how to report on elections and campaigns amidst rising threats to democracy. Learn strategies to combat misinformation, enhance media diversity, and uphold the integrity of political journalism.

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reporters at the White House asking questions

This June, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Washington, DC and the Neue deutsche Medienmacher*innen hosted a public panel discussion on how media outlets should report on elections and campaigns when democracy is under attack.

Journalists in the United States and Germany like to see themselves as neutral, non-partisan observers of political events, yet a free and critical press is vital as the fourth pillar of political power to stabilize liberal democracy. This tension comes increasingly to a head when misinformation abounds, poisoning the public discourse, with local and regional media under severe financial strain, and anti-democratic actors directly targeting journalists and the free press.

We invited Errin Haines, editor-at-large of the journalistic platform "The 19th," and New York University Professor Jay Rosen—two of the most prominent voices in this U.S. debate—to Berlin. Together with experts from the German media landscape, they discussed what journalists on both sides of the Atlantic can learn from each other and how political reporting must change to meet the challenges of our time.

Jay Rosen analyzed the asymmetry in the United States, where the Republican Party has subscribed itself to anti-democratic goals, and criticized the lack of tools at journalists' disposal to report accurately and refute false equivalencies between the two parties. He emphasized that journalists have to insist on reality and see themselves as agents of reality.

Errin Haines pointed to the lack of diversity in newsrooms all over the country and their coverage as one of the main reasons why US media have to contend with the erosion of trust among the public: “We started the 19th because we are not accurately reflecting who lives in the country and if we're not doing that then how are we supposed to be covering our politics as honestly and accurately as possible?”

Watch the full conversation with Jay Rosen, Errin Haines, Shakuntala Banerjee, Hadija Haruna Oelker, and moderator Aline Abboud below.

Democratic Reporting in Times of Elections - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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