As we count down to Election Day in the U.S., November 3, 2020, we find ourselves at a dangerous moment for democracy. As scholarly experts in politics and media, we draw on research from our field to offer practical, nonpartisan, evidence-based recommendations to journalists covering the 2020 U.S. presidential election. We hope these recommendations—based on decades of research into electoral processes, news coverage, and public opinion—support the important work journalists are doing to cover the election and safeguard democracy.
We would like to offer resources in three areas:
- Covering the election between now and November 3;
- What to do if there is a contested election when the result is unclear or a candidate does not concede; and,
- What to do if there is civil unrest.
Throughout, we strive to highlight the practical considerations of what can be done given the considerable economic and other constraints within which newsrooms operate. We conclude with several resources.