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Ethics Symposium Speaker to Challenge Misinformation in the Media

March 13, 2023

Katie Sanders, managing editor of PolitiFact at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, will be the keynote speaker for University of Idaho’s annual media ethics symposium at 4 p.m. Monday, March 27, 2023, in the Vandal Ballroom of the Bruce M. Pitman Center in Moscow.

Sanders’ presentation, “Finding Truth in a Sea of Misinformation,” is free and open to the public. This will be the 11th Oppenheimer Symposium sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Media. A reception in the Chiefs Lounge of the Pitman Center will begin at 3:30 p.m.

“It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the news or lost in the political rhetoric overtaking social media feeds,” said Sanders, who oversees PolitiFact’s fact-checking newsroom and its Pulitzer Prize-winning website. “The good news is there are proven strategies for finding credible information quickly – people just need to know how to look for it.”

PolitiFact specializes in holding politicians accountable for their statements and debunking false information in social media. Before becoming managing editor in 2018, Sanders was a deputy editor and reporter for affiliated websites PunditFact and PolitiFact Florida. She regularly teaches fact-checking techniques to journalists, social media influencers and students.

This year’s symposium falls between the 2022 mid-term election and the start of the 2024 presidential election campaign. “This is an ideal time to examine reporting about candidates and elected officials, while identifying ways to improve coverage in the next election cycle,” said Kenton Bird, a faculty member the School of Journalism and Mass Media and symposium coordinator.

Sanders plans to walk the audience through trade secrets of PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter to help participants become more informed voters and consumers of political news. She also will discuss why it is important for news organizations to point out when candidates and campaigns exaggerate, distort the facts and obfuscate the truth.

Melissa Davlin, host and producer of “Idaho Reports” on Idaho Public Television, will introduce Sanders and moderate a question-and-answer session following the keynote talk. Davlin, a University of Idaho graduate, joined Idaho Public Television in 2013 after six years as a reporter for the Times-News of Twin Falls.

The Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium, founded in 2011, is sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Media. Its goal is to promote professional responsibility and ethical behavior by journalists and other media professionals, as well as to expose U of I students to nationally known journalists and media critics. The symposium is supported by U of I graduates Doug and Arthur “Skip” Oppenheimer of Boise.

Past symposium speakers:

  • 2011: Jan Schaffer, executive director, J-Lab
  • 2012: Kelly McBride, lead ethicist, the Poynter Institute
  • 2014: Paul Farhi, media writer, The Washington Post
  • 2015: Jacqui Banaszynski, Knight Professor of Community Journalism, University of Missouri
  • 2016: Leonard Pitts, syndicated columnist
  • 2017: John Branch, national sports reporter, The New York Times
  • 2018: Adam Goldman, national security reporter, The New York Times
  • 2019: Kendra Pierre-Louis, environmental reporter, The New York Times
  • 2021: David Folkenflik, National Public Radio
  • 2022: Carl Zimmer, New York Times columnist
Katie Sanders, managing editor of PolitiFact at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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