Posted in Industry Insights

AP’s top editor: We must ‘stand up for facts’

, by Patrick Maks

At the International Press Institute’s World Congress on Tuesday, AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee stressed the importance of factual journalism in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

During a wide-ranging conversation, Buzbee explained how facts guide AP’s election coverage and its longstanding role in counting the vote and declaring election winners.

“We have an enormous responsibility as American journalists to stand up for facts, whatever those facts are,” Buzbee said. “We will make our decisions and our journalism based on facts, and people need to seek out credible sources of factual journalism.”

Buzbee addressed polarization among the American electorate, explaining that AP’s role is to deliver unbiased, fact-based information and not be partisan.

“We face an enormous burden of people who think that, if we’re from one side or the other, they’re just going to tune out and not pay attention to the world’s best journalism,” she said.

Buzbee also stressed the importance of issue-based reporting in the presidential election and the need for real-time fact checking that holds candidates accountable.

“We have to actually shove the facts into everything we’re doing and that’s hard,” she said. “It’s changing how we work. We’re trying to figure out solutions in real time.”

AP is committed to reporting extensively on how the 2020 presidential election will work and why results may be delayed.

“The level of explanatory journalism we need to do is intense, both before Election Day after Election Day,” Buzbee said.

Buzbee was joined by Tia Mitchell, Washington correspondent for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica editor-in-chief. John Mulholland, Guardian US editor-in-chief, moderated the conversation.

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