Who the Guide Is For
Spitfire believes that fighting disinformation is a skill that organizations working on issues as far ranging as democracy, civil rights, immigration, racial justice, gender justice, poverty alleviation, health, climate change and more need to have as a core competency.
This tool is an effort to spread the good info of what we’ve learned. We also encourage regular intelligence sharing among civil society organizations so that disinformation ultimately becomes a losing strategy.
While significant research has been conducted on the impact of disinformation and communication strategies on how to confront it, much of that research has not made its way into nonprofit and philanthropic communicators’ hands and plans. While there is a growing body of academic research on climate, vaccine and white supremacist-related mis- and disinformation, there is still room for more work that explicitly investigates those campaigns designed to promote racist, patriarchal and other harmful ideologies and the communication strategies we can use to prevent and confront them. Many folks in the nonprofit sector have made that connection and highlighted the disproportionate impact that disinformation has on people because of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental ability, and immigration status and the intersections of those identities.
With this tool, Spitfire aims to apply existing research on disinformation to the U.S. progressive nonprofit sector’s communication efforts. The tool is about the most effective ways to fight disinformation and is informed by interviews with researchers and input and feedback from organizations working in the field. We also assume some basic communications knowledge in this tool, so if you'd like to refresh your skills, check out Spitfire's Smart Chart tool on strategic communications.
Just Truth is meant for communicators and their colleagues working in the U.S. nonprofit sector. While the internet has no borders and disinformation flows freely, this tool is focused on the impact of disinformation and its accompanying harmful narratives within the U.S. We do include examples from other countries, and many of the principles will be useful to our colleagues in other parts of the world. We understand that circumstances may be different depending on where you are, so we invite you to take what’s helpful and adapt it for your location.
In the tool, we cover:
- Basic definitions of mis- and disinformation
- The role of narratives and framing in the disinformation and information landscape
- The techniques and rhetorical strategies deployed to manipulate us to spread disinformation and harmful ideologies
- Why disinformation is so hard to debunk and the psychological principles that make it sticky in our memories
- The roles that social media, news media, and we as consumers of both, play in the amplification and spread of disinformation
- Communication strategies, including messaging, we can deploy to prevent the impact of disinformation
- Resources for more information
Only after exploring and understanding the complexities can we address the communication strategies to confront disinformation. Without that background knowledge, we could end up doing more harm than good. We encourage you to go through all eight modules, found in the menu at the top right of the page, in order. Once you register and log in, you will be able track your progress through your profile page, also available from the menu at the top right. So let's get started!