Expert Commentary

‘Using Academic Research to Keep Politicians Honest’: A video training for journalists across beats

This recording of our 50-minute training session shows journalists how research can be a powerful tool for holding governments and politicians accountable and fighting disinformation.

Using Academic Research to Keep Politicians Honest: A Free Online Training Session for Journalists Across Beats

Academic research is a powerful tool for helping journalists hold governments and politicians accountable and fight disinformation. Our recent training session on the topic was so popular, we’re posting a recording of it so others can watch and share it.

I developed this 50-minute session based on my own experience reporting on public policy at the local, state and federal level across two decades. It’s packed with practical tips and insights journalists can use right away to bolster their coverage and fact-check claims made by public leaders. During the session, “Using Academic Research to Keep Politicians Honest,” I explain:

  • How to tell good studies from questionable ones.
  • The best places to find the best research.
  • The dos and don’ts of explaining study findings to your audience.
  • Tips for applying findings to the specific issue or community you’re covering.
  • Where journalists on deadline should look to find the “golden nuggets” in lengthy research articles.

Although the training lasted 50 minutes, the video runs longer because I stayed online to take a few additional questions. The Q&A portion of the event touched on topics such as:

  • How to gauge the quality and reliability of academic journals.
  • The dangers of focusing on a single research study.
  • Why two types of studies — the meta-analysis and literature review — are particularly helpful for reporters on deadline.
  • How journalists who don’t know statistics can check researchers’ quantitative work.

I also suggested several tip sheets and other resources to help journalists delve further into these issues. I’ll list those below.

A lot of people who attended the training have asked for copies of our PowerPoint slides for the event. If you’d like a copy, click this link to download one.

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