It Takes a Journalist

The Dee Dee Reilly Fund to Combat Disinformation

ICFJ is committed to fighting the scourge of falsehoods that are spreading like fire and affecting every aspect of people’s lives. The Dee Dee Reilly Fund to Combat Disinformation is providing ICFJ with the resources required to support this groundbreaking work and ensure that journalists in our network are prepared to fight disinformation and gain the trust of their audiences. It is crucial for us to have dedicated funding that we can deploy as needed to respond to this rampant crisis for journalism. We are honored to name this initiative for long-standing ICFJ supporter Dee Dee Reilly, who cared deeply about the important role of journalism as a pillar of democracy.

As we navigate crises from the pandemic to climate change to the rise of autocracies, the world needs fact-based reporting now more than ever. ICFJ seeks to amplify innovative strategies that can combat dangerous falsehoods, identify and reveal the networks behind viral pieces of false information, and make sure the next generation is prepared to separate fact from fiction. The Dee Dee Reilly Fund is key to the success of ICFJ’s efforts to combat disinformation – a strategic priority for our organization.

Pictured at right: Dee Dee Reilly, philanthropist and journalism advocate.

Here are the first initiatives that the Fund is supporting.

  1. Building Audience Trust: ICFJ is investing in creating exciting initiatives and
    identifying innovative solutions through our news innovation lab – Leap. We are
    supporting a range of prototype projects that help audiences detect misinformation
    through media literacy and education, and make transparency the primary focus of stories
    and news organizations.
  2. Debunking Falsehoods: We’re supporting Argentinian journalist, Laura Zommer, who
    has launched Factchequeado to combat misinformation in Spanish-speaking communities
    in the United States. In the fall of 2022, Factchequeado focused on mis- and
    disinformation about the midterm elections targeting Latin American communities. It
    published more than 100 articles and is sharing fact checks with 25 news outlets and
    fact-checking organizations in 15 states, including all the swing states. On Election
    Night, Nov. 8, Factchequeado produced a six-hour live stream show to provide real-time,
    accurate information in Spanish as the ballots were counted. CNN’s Anderson Cooper
    featured Factchequeado and its important work on his program on Nov. 5. In 2023,
    Factchequeado will create the first database of Spanish-language fact checks in the U.S.
    for researchers to analyze disinformation trends specific to Spanish and English-speaking
  3. Disarming Disinformation: In this new three-year program funded by the Scripps
    Howard Foundation, ICFJ is helping journalists produce investigative reporting to
    identify and debunk falsehoods and unmask the bad actors behind disinformation
    campaigns. Participants are pioneering innovative techniques to reach audiences targeted
    by these campaigns, as an antidote to the contaminated information environment that
    threatens democracies everywhere. The program includes in-person and online trainings,
    grants, project mentorship, in-depth research, and a slew of resources to engage
    journalists who have been fighting disinformation around the world.
  4. A global study of how newsrooms counter disinformation: ICFJ is working to conduct
    a global study of the effectiveness of news publishers’ efforts to combat mis- and
    dis-information. Through a year-long study polling representative audience panels, we’ll
    examine these efforts in up to six countries, including the U.S., where disinformation
    threatens democracy, media freedom and journalists’ safety. Based on the results, ICFJ
    will make recommendations to inform newsrooms and the news ecosystem to help
    combat misinformation and disinformation, foster trust, and ensure all the members of
    our global network can benefit. The Dee Dee Reilly Fund will provide crucial support to
    the success of this study and most importantly, to developing the recommendations that
    ICFJ will share with news media around the world.

    We are grateful to the Reilly Family for supporting this important initiative.