August 21, 2008

SF Election-Ad “Truthiness” Campaign

Newsdesk.org and The San Francisco Public Press are teaming up with the Knight Foundation-supported Spot.Us project to fund *nonpartisan* investigative coverage and fact-checking of San Francisco-focused election advertisements.

Our goal is to raise $2,500 by Labor Day, and with a bit more than a week to go, we’re at 80 percent. Help us take it over the top! Please pass this along to your San Francisco friends … and if you haven’t made a pledge, we welcome your support.

Pledge to Support SF Election Ad Fact-Checking

If you are a San Francisco resident, your pledge of $25 will help us meet our funding goal, and hire professional reporters to provide weekly investigative coverage and fact-checking of SF election ads, running from Labor Day through Election Day. These reports will run for free on Newsdesk.org, and will be made available for free to any media partners who wish to use them.

Stay tuned for updates on additional community-media partners for this project, who will extend the impact of your contribution. Also, we’ve been meeting with reporters to devise a priority list of issues that will need coverage, and will be finalizing our initial news agenda by the end of this week.

Pledge to Support SF Election Ad Fact-Checking

Remember, election season has barely begun. The mud-slinging and swift-boating has already gotten started, but come this fall, there’s going to be a veritable flood of innuendo and quasi-factual spin-doctoring headed your way. Quality journalism will keep our heads above water! Our goal is to help SF residents sort out the barrage of influence advertising, and make truly informed decisions at the voting booth — from the candidates to the ballot initiatives and propositions.

Thanks for your support of this nonpartisan voter-education project!

* BACKGROUND *
Newsdesk.org, The San Francisco Public Press and the Knight Foundation-supported SPOT.US “crowdfunding” project are teaming up to raise $2,500 to support investigative coverage and fact-checking of San Francisco-focused election advertisements. Your donation will make a difference! This sort of “microphilanthropy” uses social networks to aggregate a large amount of small donations to achieve a particular funding goal. Once the funding has been raised the money will be released to the reporters tapped for the job.

* THE NEED *
Help shine a light on the murky world of election advertising! The mailers are already trickling in, but soon you’ll be deluged by a flood of innuendo, deceptive messaging and dubious facts from a variety of special-interest front organizations, pumped at you via snail-mail, e-mail, the phone, TV and radio. Can you trust what you’re being told? Can you count on local media to make sense of it all?

Sadly, no. Far more money is being spent to influence your behavior than to help you make informed decisions at the voting booth. In fact, GradeTheNews.org found in 2004 that Bay Area TV news averaged just 1 minute 24 seconds nightly covering ballot initiatives, but ran 2 minutes 41 seconds of paid advertising for those initiatives. We can do better than that!

Pledge to Support SF Election Ad Fact-Checking

* ABOUT NEWSDESK.org * http://newsdesk.org/
Since 2000, Newsdesk.org has led commercial mass media with groundbreaking, nonpoliticized coverage of veterans’ health care and PTSD; the 2004 presidential election and the 2003 San Francisco mayoral runoff; the energy industry in the developing world; genetically engineered agriculture, and much more. Newsdesk also is the producer of News You Might Have Missed, a unique source for important but overlooked news from around the world, published every Wednesday since February 2002.

Newsdesk.org is a project of Independent Arts & Media.

* ABOUT THE PUBLIC PRESS * http://www.public-press.org/
The San Francisco Public Press is a new nonprofit local news organization whose aim is to increase the coverage of important but under-covered news topics through a daily print newspaper and the Web. The paper will stress government and private-sector accountability, consumer protection and issues of social inequality. We are developing a business model unique in the newspaper world, balancing subscription revenue with public-broadcasting-style pledges and philanthropy.

The Public Press is fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts & Media.

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