Electionland: What an Experience for Journalism Students

Learning social newsgathering, verification and collaboration on a massive scale

Carrie Brown
Nov 23, 2016 · 7 min read
  1. Students got the opportunity to learn and practice vital social newsgathering and verification skills alongside some of the best journalists in the country. The hub at CUNY-J, which was in close communication with everyone else on the project via Slack, was packed with folks from ProPublica, WNYC, Univision, The New York Times, Google News Lab, First Draft News, and more.
  2. While we didn’t find massive, widespread incidents of voter suppression, we were watching and reporting, and we identified a number of important issues with one of our nation’s most fundamental rights, such as lack of access for disabled voters, lines that stretched for blocks in some precincts, fraudulent fliers and other misinformation.
  3. We added to the evidence that social media is not just a way to distribute information or a frivolous space for selfies but also a valuable reporting tool. Yes, nothing ever completely supplants on-the-ground, “shoe-leather” reporting — hence our partnership with so many local journalists — but at the same time, we now can monitor and verify breaking news at scale. When I was a reporter, I never felt that a series of banal “man-on-the-street” interviews on election day offered much insight, as by then most minds were made up and just awaiting results. Electionland felt like such a more satisfying and significant use of time.
ProPublica’s Terry Parris Jr., socialj student Allen Arthur, and ProPublica’s Adriana Gallardo on the outreach desk
Social journalism students Nancy Spiccia and Noa Radosh await to join CUNY-J Prof Jeff Jarvis on Facebook Live
Social journalism students Ashley Smalls, Colin-Pierre Larnerd, and Sasha Fountain. Photo by Terry Parris Jr.
Social journalism students Sasha Fountain and Colin Pierre Larnerd.

Social Journalism #SocialJ

MA students building new ways to engage communities at the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY

Carrie Brown

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Social journalism director at Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in NYC. Runner; beer & Packers enthusiast.

Social Journalism #SocialJ

MA students building new ways to engage communities at the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY