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Training - Understanding and Interpreting Public Opinion Polls in Election Context

International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) program Georgian Media Enhance Democracy, Informed Citizenry and Accountability (G-MEDIA) and The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) program Increased Trust in Electoral Process (ITEP) invites journalists to participate in the workshop in

Understanding and Interpreting Public Opinion Polls in Election Context

The main goal of the workshop is to teach journalists how to accurately report on opinion polls during pre-election periods. The workshop focuses on how to interpret data; know which questions to ask pollsters; spot problematic data and polls; and fairly present data and polls to the public. Some guidelines and skills related to responsible election reporting will also be discussed.  

Timing: Week of September 8-12, 2013 (exact dates will be determined later)

Duration: 1.5 days (9 academic hours per workshop), 3 workshops in total

International Trainer: Stephanie Gruner Buckley

Stephanie Gruner Buckley is an American writer and editor based in London. She is a contributor to Atlantic Media’s Quartz, and previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal in London. Her stories have also appeared in the New York Times magazine and The Sunday Times of London. Since 2006, she has taught investigative journalism, business and economic reporting, and ethics to reporters in developing countries. Stephanie started her career at Inc. magazine where she spent seven years in various roles including staff writer and manager of the Inc. 500 and Inc. 100 fast-growing company lists.

The following topics will be covered during the workshop:

- Understanding survey methods

- Reading the numbers

- Scrutinizing survey questions

- Knowing what questions to ask pollsters

- Checklist for using polls

- Tips on fairly presenting data

- Understanding polling bias

- Best practices in election-related reporting

Teaching method: Interactive workshop. During the workshop the participants will be asked to work on exercises and case studies. Some home reading will be assigned.

Language of instruction: The workshop will be conducted in English, with consecutive translation into Georgian.

Venue: The workshop will take place at IREX’s office (Marjanishvili Str. 6, third floor).

Who can participate: Reporters and editors of Tbilisi based and regional media outlets, from print, radio, television and online media, who are reporting on politics and society.

How to apply: Please complete the attached Program Participant Application Form in Georgian and e-mail it together with your CV in Georgian to, no later than 6:00 pm on August 1, 2013.

Selection process: The number of participants is limited, and applicants will be selected on the basis of completed application forms. Selected applicants will be notified before August 10, 2013.

Selection criteria: Preference will be given to more experienced applicants, who, in the past, have covered public opinion polls during pre-election periods.

Support for participants from regions: Training organizers will cover all travel, accommodation and food costs of participating journalists from the regions.

Certificates: Upon completion of the training, participants will receive certificates.

Contact person: Tinatin Basharuli, IREX G-MEDIA Training Manager, Tel.: 2 912608, ext. 115; Mob.: 577 16 88 00; E-mail: 

Information about training organizers:


IREX enables local individuals and institutions to build key elements of a vibrant society: quality education, independent media, and strong communities. To strengthen these sectors, IREX’s program activities also include conflict resolution, technology for development, women, and youth.

Funded by USAID, Georgian Media Enhance Democracy, Informed Citizenry and Accountability Program (G-MEDIA) is to improve the public’s access to a range of sources of news and information by developing a more politically balanced, editorially independent, professional and viable media sector that reaches audiences across Georgia through diverse delivery channels. The program seeks to raise the quality and diversity of media content and broaden delivery channels; improve professionalism, including through university journalism education; depoliticize the regulatory environment and strengthen journalists’ capacity to address infringements to their rights and breaches of professional ethics; and improve the viability of media outlets.


The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) supports citizens’ right to participate in free and fair elections. IFES’s independent expertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliver sustainable solutions. As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials, empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems is implementing the Increased Trust in the Electoral Process (ITEP) project, a four-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project is aimed at increasing trust in the electoral process among the public and political participants over the three election cycles - 2012 parliamentary elections, 2013 presidential election and 2014 local elections.  The project involves close collaboration with the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) on matters of capacity building and transparency, technical support to Georgian civil society organizations and media outlets, work with political parties on election law reform, efforts to improve voter access, and extensive voter and civic education, focusing on minorities, gender and vulnerable groups.

The G-MEDIA and ITEP programs are made possible by support from the American people through USAID.







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