2024 is the year of elections, with approximately half of the world’s population headed to the polls by December. At the same time, information ecosystems throughout the world are under attack. Fact-checking and content moderation programs are in steep decline even as mis- and disinformation are again on the rise, threatening democratic processes throughout the world.

With two decades of experience working across borders to promote information access, Meedan is optimally positioned to offer assistance, expertise, and guidance to help journalists on the ground meet this challenge. Since 2016, Meedan has supported independent media organizations during election cycles, with global efforts spanning 17 elections and 1,200 partnerships. This pilot fellowship program will be the latest addition to Meedan's growing portfolio of resources available to journalists covering major global events.

Meedan’s 2024 Investigative Journalism Fellowship will provide midcareer journalists and editors from Brazil, Iraq, Lebanon, and South Asia with vital resources to produce quality reporting on elections, democracy, civic engagement, and mis- and disinformation. The fellowship’s target locations are currently in the midst of critical election seasons or political and economic crises that demand rigorous coverage from independent media. As such, the program will help fill this need by providing participants with financial support, networking opportunities — including workshops and conferences with leading journalists, media professionals, and stakeholders in the field of election integrity — and access to technologists, academics, and legal experts in the fields of elections, misinformation, and media ethics. 

The fellowship program will produce a variety of high-quality investigative reports that explore important issues related to misinformation and election integrity in order to advance public understanding and engagement on vital topics related to democratic processes. The initiative will also result in a strong network of journalism fellows equipped to cover further election-related issues going forward.

“We’re looking for proposals that zero in on key issues related to the public interest in voters’ communities,” said Meedan Program Manager Marwa Hassan.

Over the course of the program, fellows will refine their scope of work, provide regular status updates, complete presentations at the midpoint and the conclusion of the fellowship, and publish a comprehensive investigative report on an important election-related topic.

Leading newsrooms from around the world

Meedan is partnering with Agência Pública of Brazil, The Public Source of Lebanon, the Network of Iraqi Reporters for Investigative Journalism (NIRIJ), and a data journalism group in South Asia. Some of these groups are longstanding partners with whom we’ve developed deep relationships and pursued meaningful ventures in the past, and all will be important collaborators as we move forward together. Our partnerships aim to support investigative reports that will serve as an important check on power and provide the public with accurate information during elections and throughout times of uncertainty.

Since 2021, Meedan has partnered with NIRIJ in its efforts to cover stories that directly impact vulnerable populations in Iraq. In one notable article from the group, reporters explored the theft of tens of thousands of properties following the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

“We look forward to this partnership with Meedan that will allow us to equip early and midcareer journalists in Iraq with the tools and skills to produce investigative reports. Furthermore, this fellowship program is one step forward to bring a new generation of investigative reporters to our network,” NIRIJ’s Nawzat Shamdin said.

The partnership between Meedan and The Public Source most recently resulted in the publication of reporting on Gaza from Meedan’s NAWA Media team. “These working fellowships are a great opportunity for journalists and editors to develop new skills while doing what they love,” said Lara Bitar, editor-in-chief of The Public Source.

As the 2024 Investigative Journalism Fellowship progresses, Meedan and its partners will share updates, results, takeaways, and findings from the initiative.

Reach out to press@meedan.com with any questions about the 2024 Investigative Journalism Fellowship.

Subscribe to the Checklist newsletter to stay up to date on what Meedan is doing to promote election integrity, investigative reporting, and more.

Tags
Elections
Misinformation
Disinformation
Investigative Journalism Fellowship

Footnotes

  1. Online conversations are heavily influenced by news coverage, like the 2022 Supreme Court decision on abortion. The relationship is less clear between big breaking news and specific increases in online misinformation.
  2. The tweets analyzed were a random sample qualitatively coded as “misinformation” or “not misinformation” by two qualitative coders trained in public health and internet studies.
  3. This method used Twitter’s historical search API
  4. The peak was a significant outlier compared to days before it using Grubbs' test for outliers for Chemical Abortion (p<0.2 for the decision; p<0.003 for the leak) and Herbal Abortion (p<0.001 for the decision and leak).
  5. All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.

References

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Published on
June 3, 2024