Roundtable Spotlight: Disinformation In Rural America

How is information used and abused in small communities? What do we know about the disinformation campaigns influencing the opinions of our neighbors, family members, and friends? And what can we learn about the role of disinformation in the 2020 election and Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol? 

These questions and more will be tackled during the “Disinformation in Rural America” roundtable discussion 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, at Rural Assembly Everywhere: The Road to Repair. (Register for your free seat.) 

Join the Pinkerton Foundation’s Erickson “EB” Blakney, an award-winning writer and reporter who has worked for WOR Radio, Bloomberg and CBS News, for a conversation with leading rural organizers, election analysts, and media specialists about disinformation campaigns in rural America.

Roundtable Panelists

Erickson “EB” Blakney joined the Pinkerton Foundation following a career as an award-winning  writer and reporter having worked for WOR Radio, Bloomberg and CBS News. His articles have  appeared in newspapers including the Boston Globe and Clarion-Ledger. His Pinkerton portfolio includes college access and success programs, internships at cultural institutions, writing and journalism programs. A Hobart College graduate, EB is also the co-founder of the True Delta Project which produces documentaries about the Delta region which air on Mississippi Public  Broadcasting Television (MPB) and screen at film festivals around the country. EB is a board member of the DreamYard Project, an arts and social justice organization in the Bronx. He  plays a similar role on the boards of The Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, KY and The Clarksdale Animal Rescue Effort and Shelter (C.A.R.E.S), a no-kill rescue, adoption and  educational organization in the Mississippi Delta. Blakney also serves on the grants and finance committees of The Needmor Fund. Founded in 1956, the Perrysburg, Ohio-based philanthropy, supports groups organizing to bring about social justice. 


Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, the Stavros Niarchos  Foundation Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in the study of organizing, movements, civic engagement, and democracy. Her newest book will be published by the University of Chicago Press in January 2021, entitled Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. She  has previously published three books: How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations  and Leadership in the 21st Century; Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers  Transformed Campaigning in America; and, Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and  Inequality in American Politics. Her award-winning work has been published in the American  Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal  of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and numerous other outlets, including the New  York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere.


Patrice ONeill is a filmmaker and CEO of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media  company, The Working Group and leader of Not In Our Town. Her film Not In Our Town began  as a half-hour PBS special and turned into a dynamic movement to stop hate and build  inclusion in communities across the U.S. and around the world. For twenty years, O’Neill has  fostered a network of activists, civic leaders and educators and helped lead screenings and  town hall meetings to launch sustainable hate response and prevention efforts. Recognized as  a pioneer in impact media producing, O’Neill has focused on stories about people in local  communities working together for change. 


Laura Quinn was a founder, and currently serves as President of Catalist, LLC which is owned by a not-for-profit Trust and provides comprehensive voter data and related data services  exclusively to progressive civic organizations. In early 2019, she was recruited by a group of  philanthropists to design a strategy for a collaboration among more than 150+ organizations working to combat media disinformation in advance of the U.S. elections in 2020. The project  was modeled on a proto-type project executed in early 2019 in advance of the E.U. parliamentary elections. The larger multi-faceted U.S. project included digital forensic and  ethno-graphic investigations, public outreach, and regulatory advocacy to de-platform and  expose malign social media manipulations aimed at undermining U.S. democratic elections and  institutions. Ms. Quinn previously served as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Vice  President Al Gore; Executive Director of the U.S. Senate Democratic Technology and  Communications Committee for Majority Leader Tom Daschle; and in communications and  economic policy positions for U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller, Carl Levin and Joe Biden. In  addition to her work in business and government, Ms. Quinn has held senior roles on five  national Presidential campaigns; and senior management, Board and consulting positions for  numerous national and statewide political and advocacy campaigns and not-for-profits. Shevhas been a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Ash Center for Governance and Innovation, and Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy. Quinn currently sits on Boards and  Advisory Committees of several technology enterprises that serve the progressive civic community.

Beyond the Clock: Savannah Barrett

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Opportunity Roundup | January 2024

Looking for ways to grow in your skills and knowledge this year? You may be interested in applying for one of the following opportunities we’ve received recently in our Rural Assembly inbox.

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