NPR launches Disinformation Reporting team : NPR Extra NPR Launches disinformation reporting team

NPR launches Disinformation Reporting team

In a note to newsroom staff, Terence Samuel, VP and Executive Editor and Nancy Barnes, SVP of News and Editorial Director announced the following update:

NPR Newsroom 2016. PHOTOS by Stephen Voss Election Night, 2016. Stephen Voss/NPR. Stephen Voss/Stephen Voss hide caption

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NPR Newsroom 2016. PHOTOS by Stephen Voss Election Night, 2016. Stephen Voss/NPR.

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NPR Launches Team to Cover Disinformation Crisis 

The viral spread of mis- and disinformation has emerged as one of the great civic challenges of our time. From the lies about the 2020 election to the growing influence of anti-vaccine activists, to the enduring influence of climate-change denialism, lies and conspiracy theories have seeped into nearly all aspects of modern-day life, both in the US and around the globe.   

Not long after the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, we set up a small reporting team to focus on disinformation and collaborate across the newsroom on the subject. Over the past year and a half, that ad hoc team has had many successes reporting on election disinformation, the role of the tech platforms and multiple path-breaking stories about Covid disinformation.  

Now, we're pleased to announce that we're making the work of this team permanent, launching with three reporters and an editor to cover this vital topic. The mandate is to seek out original, high-impact stories and to work closely with the many beat reporters in the newsroom and at member stations whose work involves disinformation.  

Shannon Bond needs little introduction. Shannon is currently a tech correspondent based in the Bay Area. That beat has already given her extensive experience and sourcing in the disinformation world. Shannon joined NPR in 2019 from the Financial Times and quickly became known as an unflappable and generous colleague who's stayed on top of breaking news about Meta, Twitter and other tech platforms while also finding time to report out original stories, like the existence of computer-generated fake profiles on LinkedIn. Shannon's first day on the disinformation beat will be August 1st, though she'll continue to help the Business Desk with breaking technology news while fellow tech reporter Bobby Allyn is on a fellowship in Germany.

Lisa Hagen joins NPR from member station WABE in Atlanta. Her first day is July 18th. Working with NPR's investigations team, Lisa reported and co-hosted the No Compromise podcast about the most radical wing of the gun rights movement. That serieswon the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting. Her reporting illuminates and helps humanize the unfamiliar, which should come in useful on the disinformation beat. She's fascinated by how we arrive at our beliefs and navigate who to trust in these strange times. In Georgia, Lisa covered criminal and social justice in addition to guns for WABE. Before that she worked as a stringer for the New York Post. While Lisa is originally from Hawaii, she would like everyone to know that she does not surf.

Huo Jingnan has been with NPR since 2018, most recently as an associate producer with the investigations team. In Jingnan's new role as a data-savvy reporter focusing on disinformation, she'll work on both her own projects and with reporters on the team and around the newsroom to flesh out patterns and money trails related to the spread of false information. During her time with the investigations team, Jingnan quantified the extent of toxic silica exposure the federal government knew that coal miners had undergone and looked for lessons learned from courts that ran remote jury trials during the pandemic. Jingnan will start on the disinformation beat later this month and she'll continue to be based in the Washington, DC area.

Brett Neely has worked at the intersection of political coverage and collaborative journalism since he arrived at NPR in 2015, including leading our coverage of voting rights and election security through the 2016 and 2020 elections. When we launched the pop-up disinformation team last year, Brett took on the beat and has worked with reporters from the Washington, Science, Business and National desks as well as member stations to deepen our coverage. As the disinformation team's Supervising Editor, he'll continue to lead that coverage and work with partners across the newsroom and public radio network. Brett remains based in Colorado, where he moved after the 2020 election.

Nancy and Terry