Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: What can we learn from Wikipedia?

As a crowdsourced information platform, Wikipedia has had to “work to earn the trust of the public every day,” says Wikimedia Foundation leader Katherine Maher. Sound familiar? Maher, who spoke at Global Fact 4 today in Madrid, has some advice for fact-checkers on creating a transparent, useful and sustainable process. Read the story on Poynter.

Quote of the week
“So the next time you are tempted to make a snarky ‘fake news’ quip, instead look up the number of journalists who are killed every year in the quest for the truth. And maybe be big enough to admit that perhaps you simply do not like some of those truths.” — Greg Milam, Sky News, in “Time to Spike the ‘Fake News’ Defence”

Which is worse: Fake news or attempts to ban it?
Though Germany hates misinformation for good reason, the country’s Network Enforcement Act (or NetzDG) to fight fakery is misguided, unmanageable and “full of a whole lot of subjectivity.” Read the Vox story.

From Russia to the rest of us
Back in the old days when misinformation wasn’t “so fashionable,” Russian journalists fought a lonely fight against the Kremlin and its relative view of the truth. Here are some lessons the journalists learned.

Fact-checking grows again
As 200 fact-checkers from around the world are meeting in Madrid for #GlobalFact4, the fourth annual worldwide fact-checking conference, Duke Reporters’ Lab’s latest census says there’s a 20 percent growth in fact-checking organizations. Here are their criteria.

Tips and tools for teachers, trainers, journalists
See how FactCheckNI figured out a viral fake photo.  … Bellingcat publishes an advanced guide for fact-checking photos. … The story behind a new game to check your ability to tell fake news from real news. … A verification plug-in opens in beta.

Dear White House: Your fact-checked video is ready
The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker takes a White House video full of misleading information about health care, fact-checks it, annotates it and re-posts the video. Watch it.

Who’s to blame for fake news? Maybe you are.  
Legitimate mainstream news sites are contributing to the spread of misinformation because of those ungodly “sponsored” ads attached to real news stories, says Forbes writer Tony Bradley. His plea to digital newsrooms: Just stop.

Misinformation is a bad drug, and we’re addicted
Biology and psychology play a large part in the dissemination of fake news, Paste writer Roger Sollenberger says. Misinformation feeds our tendencies for addiction, makes us blind to facts, and is “deeply troubling.”

New research: Literally, but not seriously 
Supporters of presidential candidates who make statements containing factual errors canaccept corrections of those misstatements, according to a new study. Sounds like good news for fact-checkers, but the researchers also note those supporters didn’t change their attitudes about their pants-on-fire candidate. “Respondents — particularly Trump supporters—took the corrections literally, but apparently not seriously,” the authors concluded.

Flickr Creative Commons

Would you use a Twitter ‘fake news’ button?  
It’s a bit of a mystery whether Twitter is serious about developing a way to report fake news, but Vanity Fair already is reporting that Twitter users won’t go for it. Meanwhile, historians are concerned that Twitter’s fake news problem could change history. 

And now for a Facebook roundup 
Here’s Mashable’s look at the story behind those German fines against Facebook. … Facebook is going to do something about people who post more than 50 times per day because they’re typically sharing “low quality content.” … The BBC will expand its Reality Check fact-checking content and work with Facebook on building trust and reducing the impact of “fake news,” according to the Beeb’s annual plan released Wednesday.

10 quick fact-checking links 
(1) The UK’s Better Internet for Kids tackles critical thinking and fact-checking. (2) Despite fake news and alternative facts, humans are still a trusting bunch. (3) Good accountability reporting takes brains, determination, and occasionally an airplane.  (4) We all knew that seal didn’t hug a beluga whale. We just wanted to believe. (5) A weird analogy results in a weird fact check.  (6 ) Some top investigative journalists are teaching human rights activists how to fact-check. (7) The story behind Factitious, a Tinder-like game to spot fake news. (8) Most French, German and American consumers say online ads are as irritating as fake news. (9) Inverse Science takes the fun out of “A Land Before Time” with a fact-check. (10) An actress heads to court on charges she headed a fake-news operation designed to improve stock prices for certain companies.

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »