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The Week in Fact-Checking: What about the children?

A silver lining in the big, dark storm cloud of “fake news” and misinformation: The recognition that students often lack skepticism and truth-seeking skills. Just this week, we’ve heard about a fifth-grade teacher determined to teach his class how to fact-check;  the “Fake News Finders” that keeps kids after school to talk about misinformation; a Maine library that’s holding a fact-checking-and-pizza night for teens. And this animated video explains the difference between facts and opinions — complementing the International Fact-Checking Day lesson plan, now in 11 languages.

Quote of the week
“So many things are happening that it really does feel like reality itself is spinning out of control. …(T)he practicalities Americans were warned about when it comes to authoritarianism and fascism sound more urgent and necessary than ever before: write down what you know, because it can be eroded very quickly. Forgetting is what follows normalisation. It’s funny how quickly the truth dissolves.” — Una Mullally, The Irish Times

The gamification of fakery
Try this at home: “Liars and Verifiers: A role-playing card game” developed by Sourcefabric. Also, someone made a game out of fake news publishing; and no, we don’t know why.

The state of French fake news
Le Monde’s Décodeurs used Crowdtangle to draw a picture of the most popular fake news in the French media context. Among the most shared hoaxes, the topics of security and immigration dominate. Speaking of Le Monde, took a look at their initiatives on fact-checking.

A survey for journalists and fact-checkers in the U.S.
Paul Mena, a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, is collecting journalists’ perceptions of fact-checking for an upcoming study. The questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete; consider taking it.

Conspiracy theory, interrupted
InfoWars’ Alex Jones acknowledged that the bizarre Pizzagate conspiracy theory whose flames he fanned was bogus. That didn’t stop some from demanding an investigation anyway.

What are your plans for Sunday?
Celebrate International Fact-Checking Day! Go to an event or follow along on Twitter at #FactCheckIt.

Fact-checking organizations get verified
The IFCN’s code of principles seeks to promote higher standards among fact-checkers. The list of signatories that passed the verification process is growing. Check it out here.

File under: facts not dead yet
A study conducted during a New Jersey gubernatorial debate concludes that the subjects’ likelihood to vote for candidates improved when they were found to be accurate and decreased when the opposite was true. What didn’t have an effect were the “half-truths.”

Fact-checking deadlines
April 3 is the deadline to submit your Knight Prototype Fund proposals for fighting misinformation and building trust in journalism. The application form is here. And Friday, March 31, is the deadline to apply for a scholarship to study fake news.

The ‘under the radar’ viral fake-news site
A massive network of fake-news sites being tracked by BuzzFeed gets millions of Facebook shares, comments and likes. But the network stays “under the radar by largely eschewing politics,” Craig Silverman explains.

The serious side of fact-checking fun
It’s not all fun and games at Full Frontal. Political comedy is “grounded in research and journalism,” says host Samantha Bee. “We have a team of journalists working here, and a fact-checker. We care deeply about facts.” Read the Wired interview.

A dozen quick fact-checking links
(1) According to a Monmouth University poll, 40 percent of respondents believe traditional media outlets report fake news “on purpose to push an agenda.”  (2) Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, talks about her new job. (3) Is fake news okay if it’s warm and fuzzy?  (4) A Colorado publisher may sue a politician that called it “fake news.” (5) The Independent is launching “In Fact,” a five-person debunking unit. (6) The Washington Post Fact Checker wants non-Trump claims to fact check. Help them out. (7) The syllabus of a college course on political misinformation may be your idea of a good reading list. (8) Should we change the “unit” of the fact check? Tom Rosenstiel thinks so. (9) Three things that fake news is not. (10) Check and PesaCheck will receive funding through InnovateAFRICA to build up the East African fact-checking network. (11) A deep dive into magazine fact-checking in 2017. (12) You know you’ve made an impression when a fact-checking term appears in the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

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