Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: How to fit facts into a headline

Is everything @realDonaldTrump tweets “news?” The more important question is not whether to report on Trump’s tweets, but how. Many early headlines failed to indicate that Trump’s assertion was not corroborated by the facts. Here are five tips for conscientious headline writers.

Quote of the week
“No matter how Trump feels about the media, the fourth estate did not die the day he got elected. It should be ready now more than ever because the next four years will prove to be the most consequential in recent American history. And the media cannot be a footnote — but a decider — in telling the difference between fact and fiction.” — Bankole Thompson, Detroit News columnist

The latest on Facebook and fake news
New data show just how important Facebook is for websites that publish fake news and hyperpartisan news. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s post outlining his company’s strategy to address the problem vanished mysteriously for a couple of hours on Tuesday, while some argue that Facebook has no business fact-checking.

Fact-checking Black Friday deals
Ever wonder how good the deals offered on “Black Friday” actually are? Lupa tracked approximately 30 products in Brazil and found that many of the discounts offered actually placed the products at a higher price than could be found earlier in the year.

New rules for game shows?
A New Yorker cartoon this week “made me laugh & cry,” one admirer tweeted.

Macri’s promise tracker
Chequeado asked its readers to help select the promises they wanted tracked from all those made by Mauricio Macri, whose first year in office is coming to an end. For the occasion, the Argentine fact-checkers will unveil the promise tracker during an open event.

Legislation and fake news
Should the government regulate fake news? The prominence of this issue has led legislators and public officials to address the question. Perspectives from GermanyItaly, the U.K. and the United States.

Better post-truth arguments
In the New Republic, Jeet Heer defines “post-truth” as a world in which “Trump’s assertion of the moment is the only thing that counts,” regardless of what he may have said in the past. The attack isn’t so much on truth, as on logic. Philosopher Michael Lynch makes a similar argument: Deception triumphs by sowing confusion, not just by fooling us into believing false things.

Fact-checking the ‘good old days’2502615792_408d7cd71f_z
A Slate writer went 5,000 years back in time to find out if the old days were really all that good. He finds, for instance, that many people suffered from “neurasthenia” and that is not a good thing. Read it.

Fact-checking mama
Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin has some tips on how to fact-check nominees for important government positions. “In sum, the confirmation hearings should be the mother of all economic fact-checking sessions,” she says.

Fact-checking Hollywood
It’s almost Oscar season, so let’s get a grip on fact-checking those “based on a true story” movies. Here’s a site that tracks the truthfulness of movies. Check it out; even when the facts are bogus, the visualization is beautiful.

Some fact-checking fun
Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” discusses why lying politicians are like toddlers, the Terminator, and Masters of the Made-Up Universe. Watch it.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Chequeado is organizing an open fact-checking day. (2) Claire Wardle joinsverification coalition First Draft News full-time. (3) Follow the money — that’s what fake news writers do. (4) CJR takes a deep dive on automated journalism, included automated fact-checking. (5) Did Marine Le Pen *really* say that about Hollande? Probably not. (6) Der Spiegel fact-checks five myths about social growth in Germany. (7) A St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist defends a “tireless…courteous” fact-checker against political attacks. (8) A fact-checking app is helping voters in Ghana’s elections.

Please help us gather data about fact-checking! If you’re a journalist who fact-checked the 2016 elections, please take our survey (or pass it along to the appropriate colleague). We’ll share the results in January. 

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.

Featured topics

Go deeper on…

Dive deep on everything we produce about these key topics.

Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.